The Hero’s Journey of Aleksey Korneev

What is the best thing that I love about my work? As a curator and art manager, I deal with a lot of different processes – from promoting artists outside of projects to fully developing exhibitions, including concept writing, fundraising, and various installation issues – you have to be part of literally every element of creating an exhibition. All of this is quite tedious, but it is rewarded by the result: work in art is work for people. Artists get attention, viewers get food for thought, and I am the catalyst for this process, turning ideas into action. That’s why the most pleasant thing in my work is to see the fruits of my labor, when all explanations are written, wine is poured into glasses, and people discover something new. To exaggerate, I love good art and I love to show it to people.

What is my idea of happiness? It’s hard to say – I think happiness is a fleeting feeling that is formed from a combination of factors coinciding in the moment: people close to you, a fulfilled ambition and an understanding of the future. The main thing is that it is interesting. 


Photo credits: Anzhelika Gomiashvili

What is my greatest fear? That everything I do will be for nothing.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? The habit of putting off until tomorrow what needed to be done yesterday and the constant doubts about the importance of my activities.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? All those who choose sincerity instead of the momentary conjecture, which is one of the most acute issues in Russian contemporary art right now. Many have sacrificed their freedom and security for truth, such as the artist Sasha Skochilenko, who is in a Russian prison for her anti-war stance, so I think she would be the best answer to this question at the moment.

What is my greatest extravagance? Freedom for Russia and art.

On what occasion would I lie? In the occasion of questions like this one.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? First of all, my own doubts about the importance of what I am doing, which are always there. Secondly, perfectionism, about the quality of projects and any of my actions in principle. This hinders the results – it is better to be wrong but do than not do and not be wrong.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? It’s hard to say. Any successful project is already a bit of happiness.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I’d like to do a lot more and have a lot less hesitation.

What is my greatest achievement in work? At this stage, I would like to create the No W Foundation, which unites a lot of artists and cultural figures from different countries.

Where would I most like to live? In a free Moscow. In the meantime, I travel and do projects in different countries.

What is my most treasured possession? The ability to inspire people to make the world a better place.

What is my most marked characteristic? The ability not to give up and to continue to act despite all the obstacles, finding ways around them.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? Everything in my city is inspiring.

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city? It’s hard to say there are so many.

What books influenced my life and how? From “A Brief History of Curating” by Hans Ulrich Obrist to “100 Years of Solitude” by Marquez. There are a lot of them.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? I don’t know. I suppose it wouldn’t be my choice.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Me in my future memoirs I suppose.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? There are a lot of inspiring persons — from Alexey Navalny to Olga Sviblova.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime? Untitled” (2009) by Jonathan Parker — one of the best movies about art community.

What role play stories in my life and work? The main one — I’m quite obsessed by Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces” conception.

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me? The true meaning of life.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My elder brother.

Which people or companies would I like to work with? Art Basel; Open Society Foundations; Radio “Liberty”

What project am I looking forward to work on? Uniting Russian and foreign contemporary artists in a biennial format dedicated to the development of civil society in Russia.

Where can you see me or my work? In my instagram accounts.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? Systemic dedication to the idea and principles.

Which creative professionals should Peter invite to tell their story?

Michael Oger (curator and producer)
Dmitriy Maikovich (curator, artist, co-founder of No W Foundation)
Kate Kastle (artist)
Egor Korenkov (producer, one of No W Foundation producers)
Elizaveta Tsukerberg (theatre director)
Andrii Dowhopol (artist, TV presenter)
Alexey Kovalchuk (artist)
Nino Chechelashvili (artist)
Alexander Burganov (curator, art critic)
Michael Estrin (artist, curator)

How can you contact me? Personal accounts:


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