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April 2022

Interview with artist Maria Volokhova


Photo: Natascha Wilms, Maria Volokhova
Text: Irina Rusinovich

Interview with artist Maria Volokhova

Where do you come from, where and when were you born?

I was born in 1980 in Kyiv / Ukraine.

Please tell us your artistic vita in a few sentences.

In Kyiv, I started my artistic education at the age of 6 and later attended the Shevchenko State Art High School. From 1997 to 2004 at the HKD Burg Giebichenstein, Halle/Saale painting/graphics graduated with a diploma.

Study visits in:
2000/02 Accademia die Belle Arti Bologna / Italy,
2003 – Ohio University, Athens/Ohio, USA
2005-2007 – Postgraduate studies at HKD „Burg Giebichenstein“, Department of Graphic Arts
2006 – 2009 Visiting student, Research Studies Ceramics, University Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan.

In 2009 the studio “ Volokhova Porcelain“ was founded in Berlin. In addition to working in the Berlin studio, I have interned in various porcelain manufactories in Germany and implemented my works in collaboration with the manufactories. My projects are exhibited worldwide at   M.V museums , exhibitions, fairs, and biennials (Faenza, Gyeonggi, Bornholm, Jakarta) and received several awards (NASPA Award, Keramikpreis Diesen, BKV Award, Ready Set Award).

How would you describe your creative process?

The ideas for the projects usually arise intuitively. In the work I delve into the thought to another level, so to speak, to another „planet“ of the current theme.
The work on the projects has an experimental character. How far can I explore the limits of the material?
My work with porcelain requires long preparation in designing the models. In the course of the process, further developments of the project emerge. Failures are part of everyday life and often lead to unexpected and exciting solutions.

What was the key influence that led to the development of your process and style?

My study at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Bologna in 2000/2001. There I came across the Museum of Anatomy with historical exhibits. Since then I have been busy interpreting and expanding projects about the inner worlds of the human being.

The desire to aesthetically realize this somewhat unpleasant subject led me to work with porcelain.

Do you have a life philosophy? Does your creative practice fit in with this philosophy?

Life itself, enjoyment of life, experimenting and constant development.
Also in my artistic practice, I am always researching about man as a being, our connections with the social environment as well as the new possibilities in the implementation.
My credo is: to remain free in my thoughts and ideas and to keep the possibility to pursue my goals.

Have you ever had a moment when you questioned your career entirely?

Moments of doubts come across an artist mind  again and again. These moments eventually lead to inner strengthening. At some point, I understood that my activity as an artist is my true vocation, and I cannot imagine my life without my research work in the workshop.

What is your favorite museum or art gallery and why?

me Collectors Room, Berlin

A contemporary art chamber with exciting artifacts. There I always find historical overlaps with my artistic research and new inspirations. Exciting temporary exhibitions.

What’s next for you?

At the moment I am working on the development of the project in connection with the current war situation in Ukraine that will be shown in the context of the Porcelain Biennale in Meissen in the summer.

I was very moved emotionally by the Maidan Revolution in 2014. At that time I realized what a strong meaning the country of Ukraine has for me, although I have been living abroad since 1995. The current attack on Ukraine shook the whole world.

For me Ukraine is a country with people who have warmth in them, always going about their daily lives with smiles and humor. The hearts of these people are destroyed, they mourn for their loved ones, for their destroyed cities, and continue to fight for their existence as a people and their independence.





Interview with artist Vera Kochubey


I r i n a  R u s i n o v i c h

Interview with artist Vera Kochubey

Where do you come from, where and when were you born?

I was born in 1986 in Moscow, USSR. It’s the year of Chernobyl and 5 years before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Please tell us your artistic vita in a few sentences.

I was born an artist and already at 2 years old I got first lessons of painting from my grandfather who was an amazing artist himself. I spent all my childhood around him in his home atelier in Moscow. I went to art school in Moscow but dropped out and came to Berlin in 2011 to establish myself as an Artist. Since then I have more then 200 collectors under my belt worldwide as well as dozens of international art shows.

How would you define Contemporary Art in 140 characters or less?

Contemporary art is badass, provocative, bold and imaginative, I like that there is no borders at all. So it’s fair to say, Contemporary Art is something close to Chaos Magic.

Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your passion?

I had artistic soul from the very beginning, but I felt shame for this and was taught that you need to “sacrifice your life for higher proposes of common wealth of communism” – from my grandparents. In Soviet Union there was no such a profession as an “artist” so it was never taken seriously. In 2014 in berlin I met a man who was a successful writer coming from working class family and meeting him put a sparkle in me to peruse my artist career seriously . Then he took me to Berghain and my wild spirit was unleashed.

How can you describe your art practice ?

I think my art is an expression of my multiple personalities. One wants to escape all the struggle into the happy colorful bubble, one wants to shout out from every corner the painful universal truth, the other one is empersonating an ambiguous androgynous figure that is trying to figure out this life and is questioning his body/spirit existence.

Has social media had a positive impact on your work?

I started to take Instagram seriously in 2015 and I build my audience and followers since then. My main business platform is there too, so I believe that social media plays a big role these days for emerging artists.

Do you find that Berlin’s art scene inspires or influences your art?

I feel I am very independent from Berlin Art scene to the point where I could call myself the most famous Berlin art scene outsider.

What’s next for you?

A show in Berlin Urban Nation Museum, solo show at HAZE gallery, art residency at BIKINI BERLIN and autobiographical book on the way + baby steps into NFT art market.

Narita Savoor „Gardenia“



„Gardenia – a flower that symbolizes purity and gentleness“. A spring/summer editorial set in rural Cheshire, North West England. Cheshire is a county of countryside, known for its rural villages.

Makeup Artist: Phoebe Stronach @phoebestronach
Stylist: Taheed Khan @itstaheedk
Hair Stylist: Ashley Jones @ashleyjordanj
Photographer: Narita Savoor @naritasavoorphoto

Dress Vintage Shoes Minelli Scarf and Tights Stylist’s own

Shirt Zara Trousers & Other Stories Suitcase Vintage; Jacket Sister Jane Shirt Vince Flares Heartbreak Scarf and Suitcase Vintage Socks Miss Sixty Shoes Reformation

Dress Vintage Hat Janessa Leone Tights Stylist’s own Socks Miss Sixty; Dress Vintage

Dress Vintage Jacket Sister Jane Hat Janessa Leone; Top Sister Jane Blouse Vintage Hat Janessa Leone Black scarf (wrapped around face) Lescarf Headband Roseings London Gold chain Orelia

What is it like to be a woman in art today? Q&A with an artist, a curator, and an art dealer: Russian perspective


Text: Julia Kryshevich
All photos provided by the Q&A participants 

What is it like to be a woman in art today? Q&A with an artist, a curator, and an art dealer: Russian perspective

To reflect on this pertinent issue, I invited three young (given that young age is a rather vast thing), promising (in my humble but confident opinion) women from the Russian contemporary art world to share their views. Meet Anastasia Omelchenko, an art dealer and founder of the Moscow-based Omelchenko Gallery, Lizaveta Matveeva, a St. Petersburg curator active both on the local and international scene, and Alexandra Weld Queen, an artist who, yes, welds to shape her creative vision.

Photo: Inna Rabotyagina

A n a s t a s i a   O m e l c h e n k o

(b. 1991, lives and works in Moscow) 

Cofounder and director of Omelchenko Gallery* (Moscow), artist

Patience, obstinacy, and effort define a woman working in art today

It’s no secret that the Russian art scene runs on women’s endeavors. Look at Olga Sviblova, the Multimedia Art Museum director, Aidan Salakhova, one of the most famous female Russian artists plus a founder of the prominent Aidan Gallery1, Teresa Iarocci Mavica, cofounder of the V-A-C Foundation Moscow2, Margarita Pushkina, founder and director of Cosmoscow International Art Fair3, the list goes on and on. 

Photo: Inna Rabotyagina

I would say it’s patience, obstinacy, and effort that define a woman working in art today. At the same time, she might be easy, elegant, and empathetic. Through combining leadership and sensitivity, women hold prestigious positions in the art world like art historians, art critics, museum directors, and gallery owners. The same goes for me: I have to balance between my art dealer, curator, and artist roles, which often go in different directions. 

There have always been hard-working women in art. Over the centuries, women have been painting and they have been watched! However, their achievements in the artistic field weren’t really recognized before. Fortunately, today it’s different: female artists and arts administrators have been given a voice and an opportunity to share their visions on society and culture. In art (and thanks to it) we can prove ourselves comprehensively both as creators and managers and show all our talent. 

L i z a v e t a    M a t v e e v a 

(b. 1991, lives and works in St. Petersburg) 

Independent curator* and project manager 

‘Curare’ means ‘to take care’. However, care doesn’t have a gender

That’s an interesting topic to think about from the Russian perspective. From my experience, I would say that local art scene seems to be gender neutral, meaning you can see women and men on all levels of administration: you can see female, male or queer artists and curators, etc. However, in your daily working routine, you face all kinds of stereotypes; some of them you don’t pay attention to, some might be traumatic, some you don’t even identify as stereotypes or an encroachment on personal space.

I don’t think there is any fundamental difference between being a female or male curator. At least I don’t feel or see this difference, as I truly believe it’s important, first of all, to remain a human being in any sphere. Attempts to find those differences bring us back to stereotyping. Of course, we’re different, as every human being is. But also we’re quite similar in many senses.

If we think of the etymology of the word ‘curator’, it comes from the Latin ‘curare’, which means ‘to take care’. I can imagine that in patriarchal thinking taking care is primarily considered as a female gesture. However, care doesn’t have a gender. Fathers can be as caring as mothers.

A l e x a n d r a   W e l d   Q u e e n 

(b. 1985, lives and works in Moscow) 

Artist, sculptor, and performer* 

Today it’s only fighting oneself that matters

What is it like to be a woman in art for me? It means doing anything I want without restraint. In my practice, I work with metal and weld a lot, which traditionally is seen as a ‘man’s job’, but it never really bothered me. Because I don’t really care what everyone will think, I just do what I like and bring my ideas to life. 

In my opinion, today there is no point in fighting for one’s place in art, proving or arguing something. I’m grateful to all the progress feminists have made by now. However, I’m sure that today it’s only fighting oneself that matters. I find it important that I can do whatever I want in a world where everything is possible. That’s why I rather focus on personal comfort, freedom, energy, and liberation from internal constraints that disturb living happily. I seek to reveal answers to all those questions through my artworks, sculptures, and performances. 

* A certified specialist in welding technology, Alexandra Weld Queen both designs and makes her objects by hand. In Moscow, where the artist currently resides she’s known for her impressive public art projects created for city parks and gardens. Weld Queen is also a keen performer. Since 2019, she and her team have taken part in Burning Man. Discover works by Alexandra Weld Queen:

Interview with Yang Ge


Text – Irina Rusinovich @irinarusinovich
Creative director and Fashion stylist – Miguel Maldonado @miguelmaldonadostylist

Model: Yang Ge @yangge_
Photographer – Dusia Sobol @dusiasobol
Make-up and hairstyling – Nadia Kosh @nadiakosh

Interview with Yang Ge

Yang Ge was born on September 7, 1988 in Beijing, China. At the age of 20, she came to Moscow for the first time; 10 years later, she became probably the best-known Chinese actress, singer, and director in Russia. In 2014, she graduated from the Russian State University of Cinematography (also known as VGIK), Sergei Solovyev Workshop, with a Drama Degree in hand.
Since 2011, Yang Ge has starred in a number of successful Russian TV shows and films, including but not limited to ‘Flight Crew’, ‘Matilda’, ‘The Conquest of Siberia’.

Since 2013, she has been a part of the Gogol Center theater, founded by the famous Russian stage and film director Kirill Serebrennikov. For personal reasons and just for work, Yang Ge is a frequent visitor to Berlin: e.g. the actress is involved in ‘Decameron’, a play jointly produced by the Deutsches Theater and the Moscow-based Gogol Center.

I took the chance to meet the actress in person and asked her a few questions, primarily about her background and her understanding of what is key to success. 

Where are you from? How does your place of origin affect your work?

Originally, I came from Beijing, China. However, I have been living in Russia since I moved there at twenty. My Chinese origin has both affected me and my work, all thanks to the rich culture of China and its traditions. Whenever I travel around the globe, I feel very special because I can always perform or do something like nobody else can. For instance, there are tiny movements in traditional Chinese dance that I usually include in my part in contemporary dance. In addition, a very typical feature of the Chinese people, which is hard work, fits me as well. All the success I have achieved so far in my career I owe to my 24/7 performance.

When did you realize you wanted to become an actress?

It was a very funny story. When I turned 20, I came to Russia for the first time, to a small town near Tula. Initially, I meant to study languages, become a translator, and work for the Chinese government. So I was moving toward that during my first year of studies. That year, I met many people from different countries who asked me if I wanted to be a translator, if it was my dream…
After I got confronted with the same question over and over again, I felt a need to ask myself who I actually wanted to be. It’s a tough question for a twenty-year-old girl without any life experience whatsoever, isn’t it?
I wrote down everything that crossed my mind at that point, then removed the most unrealistic options — it was just the word actress that stayed! Here I would like to mention a quote: ‘Never give up on something you really want. It’s difficult to wait, but more difficult to regret’.
Since that date, I have never looked back. I graduated from the Russian State University of Cinematography (VGIK, for short), with a degree in Drama eight years ago.

What message would you like to pass on to your fans?

The first and foremost message to my fans would be: before you make any decision, try asking yourself whether you will regret not doing it or not. If you think you will regret it, then just do it!
The second message I would like to get across is what my mom always told me: before you embark on something great, learn to be a decent human being first.
And the third message is to have no fear. You don’t need to listen to the opinions of others because they will never care about you as much as you do. 

What techniques do you use to create a believable character on stage?

I always strive to base my stage characters on real-life people who I observe and examine a lot. It’s interesting to see how someone’s posture or gesture shows their emotional state. You know, being an actor, you really need to communicate with people and learn from them. 

What do you like most about acting?

Every time I get a part, I learn something new! As an actor, you can live a few different lives in a row, playing a teenager or an old lady, for instance.

What is your source of inspiration?

It’s food. When I eat, I’m always in a good mood; thus, I gain power and energy to do things. That’s a very simple philosophy. 

Please describe your creative process from start to finish. How do you stay motivated, for example, while blogging on Instagram? 

You should really love what you do; otherwise, it won’t make sense. All that will be just counterproductive. 

How do you deal with viewers who dislike your content?

I don’t care about their opinion because I don’t make my videos for them. Again, it’s about being decent, about respecting others and being respected in return. 

Which of your video blogs has the highest viewership, and why do you think it’s so? 

I guess it’s Osa & Osel on TikTok, because it’s funny! Humor is what unites people. Age, race, the industry you work in don’t matter as much, but it’s having a good laugh that really matters! 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In Hollywood! I am working towards this goal right now. And I promise I will take all my chances and I will do my best!
As for my family, I wish them to stay healthy and happy. Dear Purplehaze readers, please have no regrets and stay healthy and happy too!  

Designers: Giuseppe Tella @giuseppetelladesign Anastasia Bogonos @anastasiabogonos Victoria Geiser @victoria.geiser Laura Gerte @laura_gerte DAMUR @damurfashion