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The museum is an institue in which, for local standards, an experimental exhibition was setup.
When passing the museum along the main street, one crosses a courtyard scattered with columns and architectural outcrops, on the inner courtyard love couples and every day people linger around.
The entrance of the building is entirely devoted to the reception, well-thriving plants, left overs of past exhibitions, and inbetween friendly and unfriendly, but over active elderly women. The ones who spend the eves of their lives here between the ladies of the museum and the guards, sometimes refuse visitors access to the exhibits for unclear and unpredictable reasons, but do serve them with relevant and valuable artistic information.
On the left hand beyond the ticket office, is an exbition space with on one side an open wardrobe. During exhibitions of contemporary art, this wardrobe is best looked at as an Installation. All tools of the janitor are also stored in this exhibition space. On the right hand a very welcoming booth with a receptionist, a red telephone and behind the curtain behind her the main switchboard for the power to all other exhibition spaces.
A passage, which walls are lined with structured stone tiles leads to a very large exhibition space, which has always been dissected by huge, sloping (moveable) walls, having either a structure of rough and mostly reconditioned plaster or having simply been casually painted with a grey whitish colour. These walls divide the large exhibition space into several small spaces opening towards the middle of the large space, a method which has stood the test for all possible exhibitions. Moreover the dimensions of these 'beautifull' walls do not match with the dimensions of the entrance and exit, being larger.
Building up the exhibition had to take place in four days only unfortunately, four public holidays, and even more unfortunate was the fact the a few of our coworkers were quite ill. The fact that everything had to be done in 4 days, and not as planned in 9 days, was the result of an unfortunate mismatch in agendas of the museum director and deputy director, whose initial strictness in affairs turned into a paternal affection.
The first 2 days working with the three of us hardly brought any visible results, apart from the fact that the moveable walls were rearranged and painted and other important organizational tasks were managed.
The third day began with the desire to start building up the exhibition, and the realization that no tool necessary to build an exhibition was at hand, but also the slight foreboding that it is virtually impossible to setup 200 works of art in the 2 remaining days with only three people.
If you happen to enter the museum through the back entrance, you will pass a desk with lady guarding a camera monitor and a key cabinet. To the left is a narrow hallway with many doors, the heart of the museum, the administration. Behind all these doors all things are managed, and there are really a lot of doors. Some of these rooms we have seen from the inside as they hold several keys, which are not to be kept in the key cabinet, and can only then be issued when a person from the administration is present. These are keys to areas where e.g. ladders and pedestals are stored.
We want to specifically note though, that this museum has a place in our hearts, since one should not forget that there is no other museum in the world, where it is possible to organise an exhibition in just 5 months.
In this brilliant administration several important decisions were made for us. Without much trouble, we were allowed to hang a piece of art on the building's facade, exhibit a work of art in the courtyard which incorporated a potential fire hazard and allow the second entrance of the movietheater to be blocked with earth and several other things. Next to the administrative areas there are at least equally many artist's studios, but these remained closed for us unfortunately.
On the afternoon of the third day we were visited by a drunk coworker of the musuem who, robbed of his festive public holidays, helped us move more of these heavy exhibition walls.
During the evening everybody came to the museum: those recovered from their illness, the youth from the workshops and all our friends here. And behold, on the evening of the third day, paintings decorated several walls. We had to let go of some ideas regarding the perfect presentation according to the curators and some work could certainly have come out better, but there was enough to think about.
On the fourth day it was all about hanging all the works of art and ofcourse the opening. Shortly before this happening all works were quickly tagged with the corresponding name plates. The team took a short minute to refresh and reappeared over the solemnly decorated stairs, Lätitia even wearing a new dress which was bought 15 minutes before the opening by Marko Hild. The first part of the opening consisted of speeches concerning the change in the director position, which also took place on this day. The second part was strictly Päckchen, and everything was quite freely improvised. A lot of people visited the opening, really a lot.
From Berlin artist Barbara Caveng and Christian Reister came over. On the day of the opening they were guided through Bishkek by Nazira for their performance. Pictures of this performance were presented during the opening and can be found at [ www.b-r-a-c-e.net ]. Additional persons to travel to Bishkek from Germany and the Netherlands specifically for the exhibition were Till, Peter, Nika and Suse, who have helped us building the exhibition and with planning and documenting.
We won't waste too much words on the opening as the wonderfull pictures speak for themselves. On this point we owe special thanks to Peter Klomp, who has captured us and virtually all works of art during this week with his camera. Furthermore our thanks goes to Till Locher and Arthur Bolzhurov, who have also documented the moments of enthousiasm and astonishment. The ardour of the visitors kept going throughout the exhibition, there were many conversations and discussions and several visitors kept coming back.
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