«San’at» Journal, № 3-4, 2006 published material devoted to International Scientific Conference on «Problems of restoration of historical and cultural heritage in Central Asia. Strategy and development» and «Declaration» approved by the conference. This number offers to our readers the interview with Constantinos Pavlos Politis, Director of Branch of nongovernmental and noncommercial organization «Restaurateurs Sans Frontiers» (Turkey, Greece) and Director of Regional Restoration Center at the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan.

Mister Politis, what influenced your decision to become a restorer? Could you tell about major events in your artistic biography?

Art always was my home. I have drawn since the childhood. At the age of 15,1 met some French restorers and was struck with their ability to penetrate into details of art. Many years later, I understood that restoration was similar to surgery, but based on material of art.

I grew in Salonika (Greece) where I graduated from Faculty of Philosophy and Archeology of University by Aristotle. Later, in France I graduated from Avignon Institute of Fine Arts. I traveled a lot and lived in many countries where carried out different projects. In 1992, I became a member of «Restaurateurs Sans Frontiers» (RSF), in 2001 — Director of RSF’s branch in Greece and Turkey. So, I had got an opportunity to carry out cultural projects.

Which tendencies, problems of development and schools are in the field of restoration today? What is restoration in general: a science or artistic process?

In Europe, restoration has been developing actively since the 12th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was associated with art and creativity. In the mid-20th century, many scientists specified restoration as a science. Before restoration works, pieces of art have survived a long process of physical and chemical researches and diagnostics, required for correct preservation of historical and cultural heritage. I think a restorer is a scientist having rich artistic potential. Effectiveness of restorer’s work requires equally knowledge and intuition accompanied with good artistic taste.

Could you tell about «Restaurateurs Sans Frontiers», about its purposes, projects, etc.?

RSF was established twenty five years ago in Paris. Since then, it has been carrying out projects more than in twenty five countries. Its goal is to support local schools of restoration and to develop local potential in this field as well as to promote international contacts of experts, institutes and educational programs on preservation of historical and cultural heritage.

Mister Politis, you have already stayed in Uzbekistan for a long time. What is your impression about culture, cultural life and art of our country?

I am admired at your country. Uzbekistan is very interesting region where we could see combination of the East and the West which forms original character of local culture. The culture in Uzbekistan is highly developed, due to keeping original traditions and fundamental education. Today, the society is going towards progress.

Which of exhibitions and Uzbek artists have impressed you most of all?

Last year, Tashkent hosted two significant events: Biennale of contemporary art and Photo Biennale. I’d like to say that Uzbek artists represented a high level of art and showed all variety of modern Uzbek art.

How do you think which problems require especial attention and soonest solution in modern art of Uzbekistan?

Uzbekistan has a lot of artists, exhibition halls and galleries, but international activity, exchange of cultures, new ideas and acquaintance with traditions of other countries are not sufficient. Today, this is one of the most important and obligatory ways of art. I mean global interaction of cultures which gives amazing results in many countries.

How much important was International Conference on problems of restoration that was held in last November in Tashkent?

Conference on «Problems of restoration of historical and cultural heritage in Central Asia. Strategy and development» became an important event as it was the first step in creation and development of restoration institutes in the region. For the first time, experts from eight countries and from Central Asia could discuss recent problems in the field of restoration. By results of the conference, RSF together with the Academy of Arts is carrying out ten projects.

We know that you are working at the concept of National Museum of Miniature Painting by K. Bihzad. What ideas are basic for your concept? What kind of museum are you planning?

Establishment of Museum by K. Bihzad is very original idea. My task was projection of medieval subjects and minimalism of modern forms. I think that people have got tired of excessive decor which contains many styles without definite concept. This museum should be not only exhibition hall impressing quests of the capital, but also a center developing educational programs.

You are a restorer, designer and photo artist with own sight at the world. What place belongs to photo art in your activity? How did the idea of exhibition «Beauty parlour», which was opened in Center of Modern Art before Holiday of Women, come?

I see no essential difference between art directions and genres. Photo, for example, can be combined with sculpture in art of the same artist. Art is always a message which is hidden within material coat. The most important is to express the idea and to make it understandable to spectators. My project «Beauty parlour» was based on the idea -beauty everywhere. We should not create beauty, but reflect and show it.

What short-range plans do you have?

My primary task is to establish sociocultural contacts and center of arts open for all creative persons aspiring to creative exchange, as well as to help development of restoration in your country as it is necessary for preservation of richest cultural heritage of Uzbekistan being an important part of the world historical and cultural heritage.

Interviewed by S. Khoshimov