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Women Shaping The Art World: Daria Sabelnikova
She is running the world`s tiniest gallery - in the centre of Moscow.
Career 19 Feb 2019

Founder of @betweenwindows

In November 2018, one of the darkest wintry months in Russia, Daria Sabelnikova from Phillips Auction House decided to brighten up her office routine, and launched a boutique gallery @betweenwindows. It is literally just a wall between two windows in a Moscow office where she showcases small-scale art objects by emerging artists. By February 2019 she has sold a few works, participated in a public talk for young artists, and @betweenwindows show schedule is already busy till May.

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Where did you do your first internship?
It was in the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs in the Latin American department where I practiced my Spanish. Vamos juntos! /Let’s go together!/

Did you have any mentors you learned a lot from?
I would name my manager in the specialty leasing company. Her reasonable attitude to successes and failures, out-of-box thinking and constant self-development influenced my professional vision a lot. I am happy to have stayed friends with her to this day.

Besides, my twin-sister supports me in all aspects of my life and helps me stay grounded.

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What was your first job?
I was an assistant for a Singaporean company in Moscow. Don’t know why I haven’t visited the country itself yet – even 10 years ago it already looked like the Star Wars universe! We moved to a new office and I decorated it with artworks. This is when I encountered the art world for the first time.

Did you experience a lot of competitiveness in your career path?
I wouldn’t say so. I understand quite well where I see myself. I’ve put together a career roadmap and do my best to reach the destination I’ve set my heart on. Besides, I’ve always been lucky to work in great teams!

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Did you always like to work in the art world and why?

I started working in the arts about 4 years ago and still work for the same company. Initially I joined Phillips Moscow team as a project manager with a background in economics, and art passion wasn’t a requirement for applicants, but once you are inside this world you can’t help falling in love with it!

Recently I have applied my experience in the arts to founding betweenwindows, a one-artwork exhibition space literally between two windows in my office. At work we deal with million-dollar lots, while I personally aim to give a chance to young artists to show their works to a wider audience. Though the project is very young it has already attracted much attention in Moscow which makes me extremely happy and proud.

Do you feel the art world is undergoing lots of changes these days?

I guess people at all times felt like the greatest changes ever are happening ‘right now’. But I do enjoy seeing that local arts are being highlighted now; how young artists put their ideas into shape now when everyone doesn’t steal a chance to say ‘I’ve already seen something like this’; and the huge power of social media. I clearly see its influence in betweenwindows as Instagram is the main communication platform for this project.

By Alexander Zaitcev

Where do you see yourself in the coming 5 years?
I love my job at and its mix of art, creativity and business. So in five years I would be happy to be doing the same, but on a larger scale: international projects, memorable collaborations, high budgets.

Also I can imagine betweenwindows expanding to other cities to support local emerging artists and introduce new names to art lovers all around the world!

Best career advice you received?
The more you love your job, the harder you will work. But it’s worth it.

Your words of wisdom for young women?
Try to turn all your ideas to life. They all are somehow already in the air. Someone else will do it if you don’t!

By Alina Glazoun

How have you started your project @betweenwindows? What was the main idea behind? And how do you choose your artists?
I was inspired by an Off-White Columns project – my colleague Jason at Phillips New York office exhibits artworks on a column in front of his desk. I asked him whether it was okay for me to do something similar here in Moscow, and his reply was, ‘You should!’ The first artist to exhibit with @betweenwindows was my friend Anya Mokhova who generously supported my idea. I find artists in Instagram and already have a number of applications from artists directly. It is important for me that there is some idea, concept behind an artwork, that participation in my project isn’t a one-off for an artist and simply that the width of the work fits my 40 cm wall 🙂 The program is set up till May.

Do you do something special in account of @betweenwindows? How do you interact with your followers?
Obviously I am not a SMM expert, and everything I do in Instagram is a constant learning curve. I conduct interviews with artists, show artworks in interiors, visit artists’ studios. I added some educational content explaining how international and Russian artists use this or that medium or subject in their practice. Positive feedback encourages me to keep it up.

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