V–A–C Foundation and M HKA engage in a longer-term collaboration by supporting the work of contemporary Russian artists in a variety of way. V–A–C wants to enhance the presence of leading Russian artists, of different generations, in selected European museum collections. M HKA exhibits and collects works by artists from Russia and other countries of the former USSR. The museum focuses on ‘Eurasia’, thereby contributing to the geographic diversity of collecting and programming.

EURASIA

Reflecting on and in Eurasia

M HKA and V-A-C share an interest in Eurasia as a space of diversity, openness and links between very different people and situations.

M HKA links Eurasia to the thinking about it by two of its reference artists. Joseph Beuys realised his legendary performance ‘Eurasienstab’ in 1968 in Antwerp. For Beuys Eurasia was a space that might link up his northwestern part of Europe to the open horizon of Asia. For Jimmie Durham the notion of Eurasia is also a way for Europe to become aware that it is merely a peninsula of a larger story. M HKA director Bart De Baere calls Eurasia ‘the largest island in the world’, a natural space of commitment for the Antwerp museum. The Present Continuous project, engaging for artists from the Russian federation, enhances this set up.

From this perspective onwards, M HKA and V-A-C find a shared commitment for Moscow as a transnational meeting place. It also brought them to a joint continuation of the 6th Moscow biennial. Initially aiming to offer a progressive vision on Eurasianism, going back to the foundational thinking of Prince Nicolay Trubetskoy – as indicated in the essay ‘Eurasia as an Island’ – it became a space to reflect on the potential and limits of the desire of human beings for gathering. These reflections were edited into a book entitled ‘How to Gather’ in which V-A-C took the production lead, publishing the book together with M HKA, Witte de With Rotterdam and Kunsthalle Wien.