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Interview with Kristina Okan

By Juni 11, 2020 No Comments

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I r i n a  R u s i n o v i c h

Interview with Kristina Okan

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your work
I am a visual artist, originally from Russia but currently live and work in Berlin.

I graduated from Moscow Stroganov Art Academy with major in Ceramic Art. After  studying for 6 years, I felt creatively lost, because Russian artistic high education is very separated from the real situation in the contemporary art world. So, I decided that the best idea would be for me to move abroad and to start the next chapter of life in a new place where I have never been before, thus I moved to Warsaw, and then – Berlin. Now I am a full time artist, exhibiting and working locally and internationally.

What set you off as an artist?
I never saw other options for me in life to be honest. All my life I practice and study art. Nothing excites me more than when I express myself as an artist. I guess, it is my nature. Even though I tried to run my own art space project, to be an art manager in the gallery and to be an art teacher – I always feel that I am out of my element and I waste my time when I do something different from artworks.

Tell us about the themes you pursue in your work
All my works derive from my fantasies about natural and organic beauty. I think that so much visual beauty and power is concentrated in simple, trivial objects such as apples, lemons, etc., that we get used not to notice, though they are always in front of us. Also, digging deeper into the topic of still lifes I was fascinated by how much meaning and symbolism fruits and vegetables carried in the past, in the Renaissance epoch, for example.

In my works, I often look for a balance between abstract forms and real natural objects. As I said before, I am highly attracted by pieces created by nature, and I play around with this existing beauty in my own way, creating my imaginary shapes – little biomorphic monuments. I also like the visual effect of repetitive forms and patterns, that is why all my works are made of repeated elements. For me is very important to leave a room for interpretation of my objects to the viewers, to give a chance to find their own meanings.

Is there something you couldn’t live without in your studio? what is your most essential tool?
My studio is where my table is. It is the basic and the most sacred object for me in my studio. Not sure it can be considered as a tool actually, but it is the most essential element for me for sure.

Tell us how you organize, plan, and prioritize your work
Working with porcelain implies a very high level of discipline and self organization. If there is a tiny bit of rush – everything goes wrong. That is why I always prepare myself mentally in advance for the new series of works and organize my schedule the way that nothing will disturb me and I will devote 100 % of my attention to work. It is like a retreat or meditation.

With watercolor works on paper is almost the same. Since all my graphic works are meticulously detailed, it takes also a lot of concentration. Sometimes, I am so much into work that after hours of drawing, I look at the work and think: oh, wow,  did I really do it myself? Because at some point, I have a feeling that the work guided my hand without my direct participation. I think these works are my favorite ones!

Professionally, what is your goal?
My goal is to reach a broader audience and to get more visibility on international art fairs and competitions. And to have my works in David Zwirner`s collection, of course.

Are there any upcoming exhibitions or projects in the works?
I was working for a quite long time on my solo exhibition  MY SECRET GARDEN, but unfortuntely it was postponed and then finally cancelled due to current situation. Now I am very glad to announce that this show is finally going to happen in Haze Gallery and I am mostly focuced on its preparation. Besides this, I am working on a number of applications for ceramic biennales and art awards.

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