The Times of London profiled Nonna Materkova, a Russian economist and banker who has opened an art gallery in Shoreditch:
[T]he first question that springs to mind when you meet Materkova, who until recently was better known as the director of a corporate finance consultancy and former head of major investment projects on the finance committee of the City of St Petersburg, is this: why has a glamorous, evidently brilliant economist with several lucrative businesses opened a not-for-profit gallery dedicated to contemporary Russian and Eastern European art in struggling Shoreditch during an economic crisis? […] “Obviously I was always interested in art,” she says. “I am from St Petersburg. Every child in St Petersburg is going to these beautiful museums — the Hermitage, Russian Museum, the palaces — it’s really in the blood. Isaac [Julien, who will co-curate the second Calvert 22 show with his partner, Mark Nash] asked me when we were in Russia, ‘Where did you go when you were children?’ And I said, ‘Well, we didn’t have McDonald’s, so we went to museums’.” […] What does she think of the art-as-It-bag acquisition process of some Russian newcomers? “Every Russian collector owns a Damien Hirst,” the young collector Maria Baibakova told The Economist this month — she might well have added “you have to have one”. Materkova looks startled. “Of course, I am developing as a collector,” she says, “and I feel that my taste is changing, but the approach is the same. If I like something and I have the resources, I will buy. I will never buy because it’s fashionable — it should be something linked to my soul.” She does own a Hirst print, for the record.
East London Art Gallery Stages its Own Russian Revolution (Times of London)