Purim Tel Aviv | Pavel Wolberg

Purim Tel Aviv 2007 | Photograph 39,3 x 59 Inch

Discover the biography and all work of the artist

INTERVIEW | Yon Elosegui Head of sales Spain and Portugal

Carmignac Gestion, Madrid

How long have you worked at Carmignac Gestion and how do you relate to the works of art which are on show in the offices?

YE : I have worked at Carmignac Gestion for five years, and had the opportunity to spend my first three years working in Luxembourg, surrounded by art. I have been in Madrid for two years, where we have two photos by Pavel Wolberg. However, I know that we will soon be adding to the work on our walls.

So you are interested in this? Were you already an enthusiast for contemporary art?

YE : Yes, I am very interested ! But I wouldn’t say that I’m an enthusiast of contemporary art. However, I am curious, and I believe that it is possible to be passionate about art in all its forms. I am lucky, in Madrid, to live close to the Prado, and take my young daughters there. They love to look at the children in the paintings by Velàsquez and Goya, two great Spanish masters responsible for some fascinating works of art.

Do you enjoy visiting museums?

YE :  I’d love to visit more often and instil this appreciation in my children. When I go, I tend to do the following : I make an initial tour to see what effect the work has on me. Then, I go round again to study it in greater depth. I like to use the audio-guides to understand the work.

Does being surrounded by works of art every day, as here, at Carmignac Gestion, make contemporary art more accessible?

YE : Yes, over time, you pick up on more and more of the details. Sometimes, when people come to the offices, they make observations and highlight new aspects of the work. It’s like taking the same route through a town every day : you discover new things all the time. It’s a privilege to work in a company which has so much respect for art and allows us to enjoy it every day.

Do you make a connection between your profession and contemporary art?

YE : We have a pretty strong corporate culture based on creativity and innovation, two elements that play a strong part in contemporary art. At Carmignac Gestion, we invest throughout the world ; the work is by artists from across the globe. To see this work opens the mind : the artists are precursors, they have a critical vision that contemplates how things will change in the future. At Carmignac, it is also our aim to anticipate certain things, particularly the international financial markets.

Can you describe the two photos by Pavel Wolberg that you’ve chosen and that you find powerful and shocking?

YE : Yes, you can see, in the middle, a young woman in a wonder-woman costume, leaning on a car : is she a prostitute ? In the foreground, there is a hooded man, making one think immediately of a terrorist. It appears to be taking place in the Middle East. It quickly becomes clear, however, that these are costumes, and that this is the scene of a party, in this case, in Israel. It is both strange and surprising to see this unruly crowd, with all these people walking along and taking no notice of the people in disguise. It has a very young, uninhibited feel. In the second photo, we see an everyday scene. A young boy, about ten years old, is holding in his hands the head of a sheep, dripping with blood, and is looking behind him in a totally unrehearsed manner. He is about to stuff the animal head into a plastic bag. There is also a man, with a knife who looks rather menacing. This is probably a work scene from an abattoir...It is shocking for us, at least for me, as a spectator, whereas for them, it is a banal everyday scene, as is clear from their faces.

Have you sought to find out about the artist Pavel Wolberg ?

YE : He is a photojournalist. He is someone who wants to be in the middle of the action, and above all, to convey what he sees. He is a Russian who has lived in Tel Aviv, but who has never fully integrated into Israeli culture. I think he feels uprooted. His fascination with different cultures could come from the fact that he feels himself to be a citizen of the world.

Do you think that having contemporary art adds to the reputation of an asset management company?

YE : I think that, above all, it is synonymous with a different way of thinking and seeing things. Therefore, if our clients and partners come into our offices and experience emotions that make them feel they are somewhere different, it is ideal.

What do you expect from art in general ? What role do you think the artist should play in society?

YE : I expect to feel either an emotion or be made to think, or both. The emotion could come from what the artist feels, perhaps, and what they wants to communicate through the work. And a new way of thinking when there is a more intellectual approach. At Carmignac, there are certain pieces of work that could be perceived as shocking, as they can be interpreted in different ways. Art requires open-mindedness.


Interview by Elisabeth COUTURIER