Maria Gruzdeva is a fine art photographer. She mainly works on long-term documentary projects, underpinned by extensive research. www.mariagruzdeva.com
Your secret art venue when you seek peace and quiet
Huis Marseille. It provides a unique combination of feeling at home while being in a beautiful museum space with some extraordinary photography on the walls. Huis Marseille occupies two monumental 17th century houses in the center of Amsterdam with a view over the canal. The name comes from its history, as the first owner of the house once came to Amsterdam on a ship from Marseille. The museum preserved the historical structure of the house, with spacious reception rooms turned into galleries with grandiose fireplaces, the kitchen is now a cozy café with an original oven and little door into a picturesque garden. With numerous stairs and many different rooms, you can always find the one that suits your mood, whether you feel like gazing outside the windows onto the passing boats on the canal or hiding in the attic.
The best food experience in an art space
The Magazine at the Seprentine Sackler gallery. Designed by Zaha Hadid and situated in the heart of Hyde Park it is a perfect spot for weekend brunch. On a sunny day, it feels very refreshing to go for a long walk and then have a proper meal or just some tea and cake at the Magazine. Bright, spacious interior with glass walls and soft-shaped, flowing roof and columns which organically let the natural light in, it feels crisp and full of air. That is how I like my coffee to feel fully awakened and energized for the new week to come.
A museum gift shop that you never leave empty handed
Tate Modern. I’ve fallen in love with the Tate from my first visit there. I remember how much the Turbine Hall impressed me. I like that part of the gallery, including the gift shop, which always offers a wide range of magazines and books. I also always fetch some curious little things to give to my cousins, who are 10 and 5 years old and I always find something there to surprise them.
Your museum with a wow-factor
Sammlung Boros. Originally constructed as a Bunker in Berlin Mitte, it now houses a private collection of contemporary art dating from 1990s to the present. The building is more than monumental, giving you goosebumps from just being inside – a fact that can be attributed to the way it is constructed and to the stories its walls can tell. Erected in 1943 by the forced labourers of Nazi Germany to be an air-raid shelter, the Bunker is square, designed as a maze with a total area of 3000m2 and multiple staircases. In the 90s it was known for the crazy fetish parties that were thrown there. Christian Boros bought the Bunker in 2003 to house his collection of contemporary art. The variety and quality of works is impressive – spanning from installation and sound to some more traditional media like sculpture and photography. The names featured in the current exhibition include Ai Weiwei, Thomass Ruff, Olafur Eliasson and many others. Lots of the artists have personally installed their work for the show. It is indeed an overwhelming experience to see the artworks in such space and such context.
Please share with us a special personal memory related to a museum experience
The VDNKh, which is a unique architectural ensemble with over 80 architecturally inspiring pavilions, situated in one of the districts of Moscow. First established in 1939 it was built by the vision of Joseph Stalin to create a cultural centre glorifying the ideology of communism and socialism. Best architects, sculptors and painters of those times worked together to bring the ‘Communist Eden on Earth’ into reality. However with the fall of the Soviet Union the complex has begun its decay and pavilions have been turned from impressive exhibition halls into derelict monuments of the Soviet epoch. I was always attracted to that place, the charm, the grandeur of the utopian idea and its afterlife. Nowadays it is going through a revival – the pavilions have been restored and now house permanent or temporary collections of some of the Moscow museums.