Zelfira Tregulova: "I dream of hosting Tretyakov Gallery exhibition at Heydar Aliyev Center"

Zelfira Tregulova: "I dream of hosting Tretyakov Gallery exhibition at Heydar Aliyev Center"

A few days ago, at the initiative of the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Russia Polad Bulbul oglu, the State Tretyakov Gallery hosted a solemn reception for embassy staff, dedicated to the exhibition of Russian artist Vasily Polenov. On the sidelines of this event, director General of the State Tretyakov Gallery told Vestnik Kavkaza about the museum’s contacts with Azerbaijan.

- Zelfira Ismailovna, first of all, how do you assess Polad Bulbul oglu's idea to organize this evening at the Tretyakov Gallery?

- This is a wonderful evening, ambassadors from more than 50 countries are here. I am very grateful to both the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the doyen of the diplomatic corps in Moscow, Mr. Polad Bulbul oglu, and our longtime partner Gazprombank for organizing this wonderful evening where people can enjoy their time with each other and with art. For us, such visits are very important because Russian art is undervalued in the world. It seems to me that the ambassadors of the largest countries, including Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia, coming here is a very important sign that Russian culture has universal significance. In fact, art has always been a wonderful bridge between countries and peoples, and this evening is the best proof of this.

- Does the Tretyakov Gallery collaborate on some project with Azerbaijan now?

- Over the past three years, we have hosted two wonderful exhibitions of Azerbaijani artists. The first was a retrospective of Tahir Salahov's work, one of my favorite artists, it was held in 2016. This year there was a brilliant exhibition of Azerbaijani artists 'Absheron Constellation' from the collections of Baku museums and from our collection.

Now we are holding talks on a large exhibition of Azerbaijani art abroad. We also discussed, including with the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, organizing a serious and significant exhibition of the Tretyakov Gallery's collections in Baku, especially since there is an amazing building of the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, designed by great architect Zakha Hadid. I always wanted to organize an exhibition in this building, I hope that someday this dream will come true.

- What's about the 8th Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art being held at the Tretyakov Gallery?

- Indeed, the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art is held in the western wing of the Tretyakov Gallery. Its theme is the dialogue of the West, East and Russia. I am very glad that the works of two Azerbaijani artists are presented at this exhibition. Their participation in the biennale was supported by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

I am happy that I was able to accompany First Vice President of Azerbaijan, Ms. Mehriban Aliyeva to the exhibition on Sunday. She really liked the exhibition. It was very interesting to talk with her, see how she perceives contemporary art, which works she pays particular attention to. Mehriban Aliyeva is a person with incredible educational background, not to mention that she is one of the most beautiful women I have ever met.

- How do you assess the opening of the 'Azerbaijan' pavilion at VDNKh after a repair?

- This is a wonderful event. Stunning architecture of the 30s, which was carefully, accurately and finely restored, including by Azerbaijani masters. It seems to me that it is a wonderful place representing Azerbaijan's culture, traditions and incredible richness, which produces such beauty which cannot be treated as something that can be consumed. It seems to me that, first of all, we should be admire it and understand that it's a reflection of Azerbaijan's beauty, its complex and long history, presented in the pavilion for those who visit VDNKh these days. It seems to me that this pavilion will become a very important point of attraction.