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/INTERVIEW

Interview with artist Jan Prengel

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

Jan Prengel

Text:
L y u b o v  M e l n i c k o w a

Interview with artist Jan Prengel

Hello Jan! Thank you for taking time for that interview. How did you become photographer? Was it a long way to find yourself in art?

It’s my pleasure!
The serious interest in photography came up during a trip to Paris in 2010. I photographed urban life with a small, simple digital camera. The images printed out afterwards ignited a fire in me and my path began. I decided to study photography.
Starting with commissioned photography for companies and architects, etc., I have implemented more and more of my own projects and developed my personal style.
But I think finding yourself in art is a never-ending process. As long as you change yourself, your artistic creation will also change and redefine from time to time.

Morocco_Pastels

The main subjects of your works are modern architecture and urban spaces. Why did you choose this particular direction in photography?

I have chosen these subjects for my work because they allow you to project your own visions and feelings onto them. They provide the visual basis for it. For example If you portray people, they bring their own complex story with them, which you cannot and should not suppress for your own ideas.

Morocco_Pastels

Morocco_Pastels

Morocco_Pastels

Minimalism is a rather subjective concept. It leaves a wide space for the viewer to perceive the work. What does minimalism mean to you? Why did you choose this concept?

For me, minimalism is more than just a visual aesthetic. Minimalism has a calming psychological impact on the subconscious. It leads to internal order. Similar to the feeling after you’ve tidied up your home.
I think the greatest lasting happiness is when all energies are balanced and minimalism is a good basis for that.

Concrete_Berlin

Concrete

Who are your favorite photographers and where do you get inspiration to create?

Andreas Gursky, George Byrne, Josef Hoflehner.

My inspiration is a product of the totality of all external sensory stimuli as well as the mental processing of them. The thoughts often wander around for hours and you can only hope that something ‚tangible‘ will emerge from it, an idea that can be realised.

External influences can be documentaries such as: Gerhard Richter – Painting, or the red light of a car park that falls into my girlfriend’s apartment at night and creates a cinematic atmosphere.

Light_of_Lisbon

Graphic_Lisbon

Graphic_Lisbon

Who are your favorite photographers and where do you get inspiration to create? How has the pandemic affected your creative process in terms of goal setting? How did you deal with lockdown and limitations of last year?

The restrictions of the pandemic made me dealt with new subjects. For example I created my series Plants from Space. There has been also a strong self-reflection and personal development that will give future projects additional levels and depth.
So there has been a positive impact on my work. Nevertheless, I long for the freedom to travel with the opportunity to discover new places and to get new influences on my photography.

Blue_Theatre

Blue_Theatre

Untitled

What are your future photography plans and current projects you are working on.

I am working on projects with new concepts and themes where I include my recent thoughts and visions.
I don’t want to be more specific about projects until they are finished.
You never know what the future will bring.

www.janprengel.com

Interview with the designer of the brand „studio 29“

By /FASHION/, /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

designer of the brand „Studio 29“

Text: L y u b o v  M e l n i c k o w a

Interview with the designer of the brand "studio 29"

Thank you for taking time for an interview with us! We are happy to welcome you to PURPLE HAZE magazine. Before asking questions about the brand, I would like to learn more about the designer and founder of the brand Studio 29.

Tell a little about yourself. How did your creative path begin and why did you decide to become a fashion designer?

My name is Tanya Fomicheva, I am the founder and art director of the Russian clothing brand STUDIO 29. I was born in a village with a population of just over a thousand people and have always been a creative and active child. Of course, they didn’t know anything about fashion in the village, but my mother always found special high-quality things for my sister and me and took them in installments, because there wasn’t enough money.

designer of the brand „Studio 29“

In 2008, I moved to Yekaterinburg and entered the university. I was a student, so I was constantly saving, and at some point the idea came up to start buying clothes wholesale for myself with a 50% discount and selling to someone else. That’s how my entrepreneurial activity began: I rented a room, figured out logistics, rented a cash register and opened a multi-brand store that brought a good income. Now I understand that I myself created my first store from scratch at the age of 20 as a student.

What does fashion mean in your understanding?

Fashion for me is people, atmosphere, this is what unites and makes the world around me interesting, multifaceted and deep. Every day I meet new people from the fashion world and discover creative, talented people who love their work as much as I do. Together we don’t just create clothes, we create projects that change the world around us. Fashion in recent years raises a lot of social problems, we are increasingly thinking about environmental friendliness and reasonable consumption.

backstage of Moscow Fashion Week

Tell us a little about the brand. At what point did the idea of creating a brand come up?

After moving to Moscow, I got a job as a sales manager for a Russian clothing brand. After working there for six months, I decided to quit, because I had a burnout and I realized that I didn’t want to work for someone and could try to create clothes that I would wear myself. I became interested in how to produce clothes, calculated how much money I needed to open my own brand. I launched my brand for 50 thousand rubles and told about it on my social networks.

As a rule, a clothing brand is a large team that takes part in the creation of collections. How many people are in the brand team and what are the responsibilities of the chief designer?

I hold the position of art director in the brand. Two designers work under my supervision, with whom we develop collections. Also, a large team of the production department is working on the collections: a technologist, a designer, tailors, laboratory assistants, a cutter, a confectionist and a manager for placing orders at garment factories. In general, there are about 50 people in the team now. The team is growing rapidly as the brand develops and we need more and more specialists in the staff.

creating collections

creating collections

creating collections

How would you describe the brand’s style?

We create basic clothes with interesting details, they make our clothes recognizable. We work with color and trace our own stylistic techniques. In our clothes, girls can feel free, but at the same time express their individuality and character through details and combinations.

Now many brands are for environmental friendliness and recycling. What materials does the Studio 29 brand use? Are you planning to create collections from recycled materials?

The team and I also started thinking about environmental friendliness. At the moment, we are recycling the remnants of fabrics and paper in the office, we want to start sorting garbage, all the lighting in the office has been completely replaced with LED, which allows us to reduce the amount of energy consumed. As for the production of collections from recycled materials – it’s a little more complicated. We need to find reliable suppliers and high-quality materials. We are working in this direction.

collection show at Moscow Fashion Week

How would you describe the brand’s style?

We create basic clothes with interesting details, they make our clothes recognizable. We work with color and trace our own stylistic techniques. In our clothes, girls can feel free, but at the same time express their individuality and character through details and combinations.

Who is the Studio 29 brand for? Can you describe its target audience?

Our target audience is 25-35—year-old girls who follow trends. They value the quality of materials and a good cut. They have a bright, busy life, in which there is enough space for a career and for love, they devote time to themselves, their self-development.

brand collection

Studio 29 is a well-known brand in Russia. Would you like the brand to exist on the world market in the future?

Yes, this is my dream! Today we already have many customers abroad, they love our clothes, appreciate them for their good quality and cut. But of course I would like as many girls as possible to find out about us in the world. I am sure that the brand has a wonderful future ahead of it.

How would you describe today’s fashion and what feelings does evoke in you?

Fashion in its direct sense surprises me less and less. It seems to me that styling plays a really important role now. It’s really fascinating. Today it is important to find yourself, let go of all trends, imposed stereotypes and opinions and just listen to what really responds to you personally. This is the most important thing! Fashion today is a choice.

brand collection

Brand website studio-29.ru

Interview with the designer of the brand „IANIS CHAMALIDY“

By /FASHION/, /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

designer of the brand IANIS CHAMALIDY

Text: L y u b o v  M e l n i c k o w a

Interview with the designer of the brand "IANIS CHAMALIDY"

Thank you for taking time for an interview with us! We are happy to welcome you to PURPLE HAZE magazine. Before asking questions about the brand, I would like to learn more about the designer and founder of the brand Ianis Chamalidy.

Tell a little about yourself. How did your creative path begin and why did you decide to become a fashion designer?

Good afternoon! My name is IANIS CHAMALIDY, I am the founder of the IANIS CHAMALIDY brand and today I am the artistic director of the development department. I think my profession was a vocation and I unknowingly started this path. I liked making clothes because my grandmother sewed clothes. All my childhood was spent surrounded by women who try on clothes and my grandmother sewed for them. I saw it from an early age, absorbed it. My mother took me to the Mariinsky Theater, all kinds of exhibitions, museums. My childhood was spent in St. Petersburg, filled with historical and cultural heritage, and of course all this probably gave me a wonderful environment, gave me the desire to create clothes and continue the traditions of my family.

designer of the brand IANIS CHAMALIDY

What does fashion mean in your understanding?

In my understanding, fashion is a phenomenon that unites culture, economy and spiritual feelings of a person, the values of the country in which you live, his cultural heritage. All these are like reactions, they are reflected in fashion, and fashion is a product through which it is easy for a person to broadcast his world around him and very quickly convey to people the state in which he and the society around him are. Fashion is also an opportunity for me to express myself, my inner world, to find my sense of freedom. I studied not as a designer but as a fashion designer at the Stieglitz Academy and for me this is an opportunity to build my own world with its values that will completely suit me, because the world in which I live does not suit me, it is full of imperfections, lack of freedom, this world is sometimes very conflicted, it hurts my heart and I build my world through fashion, in which people are absolutely happy, they live in peace, in harmony like true Greeks because I am Greek. The theme of harmony is very important, especially since St. Petersburg in which I live is the city of the heir of the ancient world because in St. Petersburg all architecture, it celebrates the ancient world with its democracy, with its sense of freedom and aesthetics, because the Greeks have always supported aesthetics as the highest point of personal freedom.

Tell us a little about the brand. At what point did the idea of creating a brand come up?

I divide the IANIS CHAMALIDY brand into two periods. The first period was classical when I learned the canons of classical beauty, so to say, with the ancient world, lines, proportions, etc. Architecture, the history of costume, the history of cultures, which were constantly changing in the world, on a global scale of world culture. At some point I thought that I wanted to create my own language and I turned to my Greek ancestors and realized that a European costume, like, say, a little black dress from Coco Chanel, in which there is a form, it calls you to take this form and live according to the laws of this form, the mood of this form and me I wanted to go beyond this understanding. I turned to my ancestors and realized that the Greeks did not have a uniform, they were peplos, chitons. It was a garment that gave freedom to its owner to express his image through his inner world, through the harmony of the inner world and the social vector because we are always in society, we have a profession and we have a social vector along which we move and this harmony between the inner and the outer gives birth to this image of a person. The Greeks draped their dresses, they called it metamorphosis, when the shape could change, there was a lot written about it in legends. I began to create transforming clothes. I came to the concept of multi when, on the one hand, the thing is classic, strict, clean, devoid of unnecessary elements, some unnecessary details, and on the other hand, it is an avant-garde aesthetics where there are emotions, where there is a completely different reading. I combined two different phenomena: classical and avant-garde in one product and got my own concept in which I have been moving for 25 years, so many years to the brand IANIS CHAMALIDY.

As a rule, a clothing brand is a large team that takes part in the creation of collections. How many people are in the brand team and what are the
responsibilities of the chief designer?

Today I am the art director of the brand IANIS CHAMALIDY. 5 designers work with me in different directions because today we produce clothes, bags, accessories, men’s and women’s collections, underwear collections and jewelry collections. The brand also participates in theater projects, cinema, television, and much more.

In addition to designers, designers work. Their responsibilities include designing clothes according to the designer’s terms of reference. It is also very important for me to combine all the concepts. I come up with a design, volumes, proportions and give out a very clear task, probably without giving any freedom to the designer because I am a person who understands the design and how this design will be transformed, what technological details, seams, the whole technology. I decide up to how thick the threads will be, whether the stitches are made, the length of the stitch. It’s very important, it’s a whole art. All the fittings, the design of the fittings, I make the decisions myself. I really like it, to keep the creation of my product under control.

How would you describe the brand’s style?

Restrained refined refined style, aesthetically filled. It is filled with aesthetics, it is very important, it is very sensual, very relevant. It is very important for me that fashion is relevant. Today I have researched a person’s life, his speed of life, and I understand how I should create clothes that will help a person feel comfortable, stylish, pronounced in society.

Now many brands are for environmental friendliness and recycling. What materials does the Ianis Chamalidy brand use? Are you planning to create collections from recycled materials?

We used posters that hung on the streets of Italy and we recycled these banners into clothes. We had a whole direction and now we are creating fabrics that use a small amount of water for washing, less chemicals. These fabrics are very quickly erased, easy to dry. We do not use electricity for ironing with an iron. We are working very seriously on this issue and this is a whole direction in the brand.

On June 21, the Forte collection was shown as part of the Moscow Fashion Week. Tell us more about this collection. What inspired you to create it?

At fashion Week we showed the Spring Summer 23 collection, I called this collection „The Dividend“, this is a reflection on a person who has turned from an individual into a dividend. This is the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, a French philosopher who said that in the modern world a person will turn from an individual into a dividend. This is a new person, with a new understanding, a sense of life, who lives with a different speed of life than before. All the events that have happened, they have further strengthened us in understanding that in fact, a person who has gone through a pandemic, all the cataclysms and all these experiences, he turns from an individual into a dividend, because a person from a linear world where there is a floor and a ceiling, white and black, God and the devil, everything used to be it is very clear that I have moved into a linear virtual world, where the concept of human values is shifting. He ceases to live according to the norms and concepts that were in the past, and as if the research of this person, his speed of life, in general behavior, was created in the „Dividend“ collection. The collection reflected all these issues and reasonable use and global environmental things. When we brought the collection from St. Petersburg to Moscow, we did not steam it, it did not crumple. It is made of ecological materials, it is a synthetic that does not crumple, requires little water when washing, gets dirty less and is very tactile pleasant to the body. This topic of recycling, ecology and so on, we showed all this at fashion week.

Who is the Ianis Chamalidy brand for? Can you describe its target audience?

Today I dress a lot of artists, actors, people of creative professions, of course, and business people too, but most of my clients are business people who are in their own business, very creative people who go beyond the general concepts of style and beauty.

Ianis Chamalidy is a well-known brand in Russia. Would you like the brand to exist on the world market in the future?

Of course we want the brand to exist all over the world because customers wear IANIS CHAMALIDY clothes all over the world and the understanding of the brand is more global. It is like a reaction to cultural events, to a person, a global person, a person of the world, he travels, he has no borders, a person is absolutely free, a person of the world. For such free, creative, creative people, I create a collection, of course, this is a global client.

How would you describe today’s fashion and what feelings does evoke in you?

I see fashion today as very positive because fashion is always a tool for gaining freedom and fashion today offers a large number of solutions, ranging from absurd, ridiculous and useless, but as a manifestation of creative freedom, inner endless awakening of the personality, but the other side is very reasonable and caring about the future of a person. Fashion for me today shows the triumph of a person’s creativity and it inspires me very much.

ianischamalidy.com

Interview with the designer of the brand „Maison ESVE“

By /FASHION/, /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

Maison ESVE Backstage by shumovphoto

Text:
L y u b o v  M e l n i c k o w a

Interview with the designer of the brand "Maison ESVE"

Thank you for taking time for an interview with us! We are happy to welcome you to PURPLE HAZE magazine. Before asking questions about the brand, I would like to learn more about the designer and founder of the brand Maison Esve.

Tell a little about yourself. How did your creative path begin and why did you decide to become a fashion designer?

Good afternoon. My first education had nothing to do with fashion, it was faculty of law. I studied law and danced in the team of the famous pop artist Jeanne Friske, where my conscious interest in fashion and design arose. At that moment I started creating costumes for working on stage and after completing my path in show business (25 years) I went to get an education in the specialty „design“ – at first it was a Textile University named after him.Kosygina, then I continued my studies at BHSAD (on the British course) is a branch of Hertfordshire University.

Maison ESVE Backstage by Olga Shirokova @redangel_vendetta

What does fashion mean in your understanding?

For me, fashion is creativity within the purchasing power of your client. If goods are very creative, but not sold, I call it art. People need to understand and wear fashion.

As a rule, a clothing brand is a large team that takes part in the creation of collections. How many people are in the brand team and what are the
responsibilities of the chief designer?

The idea of my brand was to combine talents and unlock the potential of each of the team members. Hence the first part of the brand name „Maison“ – which means „fashion house“. Our team consists of 7 very creative people, whom I, as the head of this fashion house, inspire to be creative and implement my ideas. I believe in every person who is with me, and I am grateful for their professionalism. I love experiments and mistakes, because I see in them a design path that cannot be drawn or thought out in advance.

Maison ESVE Backstage by @lizamedvedeva

Maison ESVE Backstage by @lizamedvedeva

Maison ESVE Backstage by @lizamedvedeva

How would you describe the brand’s style?

Maison ESVE is focused on creating intelligent collections with a large share of handmade. All designs start with a concept and are thought out to the smallest detail. It is always a style unlike anyone else and a clear recognition thanks to details – jewelry processing, hanging beads, connection of cut, layering, delicate fabrics, loose fit, tactility of selected materials, carabiner fasteners and ribbon ties. We always have a complex technology production of products, therefore, it is very difficult to repeat our design. Zippers and buttons are practically not found in collections. A lot of boudoir and negligee aesthetics. I love transparency. There is also a line of dresses-combinations that can always be purchased under an upper dress or worn by themselves.

Now many brands are for environmental friendliness and recycling. What materials does the Maison Esve brand use? Are you planning to create collections from recycled materials?

We are thinking about environmental friendliness, but we do not use recycled materials yet. We adhere to the principle of “reasonable consumption“ and „reasonable design“. What it means: we use fabrics from previous collections, changing the design and processing methods so as not to buy a lot of new fabrics with large leftovers from previous collections.
Also, knowing the width of the fabric and the footage, there is always a design miscalculation first, which product can be invented so that there are minimal attacks.
We use small pieces of fabric to make bags. Thus, we try to minimize the “garbage” after the creative process.

Maison ESVE Backstage by shumovphoto

On June 21, the Forte collection was shown as part of the Moscow Fashion Week. Tell us more about this collection. What inspired you to create it?

The new FORTE collection is a synthesis of the aesthetics of the ancient Maya civilization and recognizable features of the brand that have become the hallmark of Maison ESVE.
The standards of beauty among the tribal inhabitants were as extreme as possible. It is believed that Maya is a beauty that requires maximum sacrifice.
Therefore, the name of the collection ‘FORTE’, first of all, means – ‘in full force‘. The collection is very rich, but within the aesthetics of the brand.

And the girl in the new collection fascinates with the desire to know her inner world, creating an image of a bright and luxurious conqueror of a new civilization.

It was the mathematical foundations of the knowledge of the world of the inhabitants of the Yucatan Peninsula that inspired the creation of designs. Most of the products are built in a mock-up way with precise calculations of proportions, the number of layers, the level of the percentage of assembly, the geometry of the connection of the drawing.

Maison ESVE Backstage by @lizamedvedeva

Maison ESVE Backstage by @lizamedvedeva

Maison ESVE Backstage by @lizamedvedeva

A minimalistic cut resembling simple pieces of cloth with slits for the hands and head, as well as a traditional loincloth in the form of a palm-wide strip of fabric, which was wrapped around the body several times or placed in thick assemblies, are presented in the collection in many products and are made of thin delicate fabrics characteristic of the brand.

Long capes, ankle-length skirts and combination dresses, starting above the chest and leaving the shoulders open, abundantly decorated with fringe, embroidered with small lace patterns or beads. The sequins and hanging beads presented in the collection resemble discs made of shells and coins that tribal women attached to the edges of their clothes so that they tinkled melodiously when walking.
The layering in the brand’s collection corresponds to the status of the image.
Among the Maya, only noble people could afford to add a long ‘shirt’ and a second loincloth, similar to a full skirt, over the garment.

By color, the collection in the show is presented on the contrast of combinations denoting three periods of the existence of the Maya civilization.
There are a total of 33 outputs of 11 bows for each period.

Who is the Maison Esve brand for? Can you describe its target audience?

First of all, the heroine of ESVE is a self-confident intellectual. She knows how to present herself, she doesn’t hesitate in front of the camera, she knows how to impress. Her steps are soft and her breathing is light, she make a wish by blowing an eyelash off the tip of her finger, she intrigues and provokes a little and always likes to be the center of attention. She will always have a reason to show the brand’s products.
She is always very sophisticated, and revealing clothes emphasize not sexuality, but the fragility of her sensual nature.

Maison Esve is a well-known brand in Russia. Would you like the brand to exist on the world market in the future?

Of course, we strive for this. Let it in small steps, but with great dignity and pride for all that we do.

Maison ESVE Backstage by shumovphoto

How would you describe today’s fashion and what feelings does evoke in you?

Fashion is as contradictory as ever. There are always inspiring moments and upsetting ones. I’m glad to be a part of this madness)

Brand website maisonesve-shop.com

Interviews with the artists of the exhibition „DO NOT GO OUT THE WINDOW“

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

Joke Amusan, Standing, Despite It All

Text
E k a t e r i n a  S i d o r e n k o v a

Interviews with the artists of the exhibition "DO NOT GO OUT THE WINDOW"

Few days ago in the HAZE gallery we opened a collective online exhibition called Do not go out the window.
This exhibition is focused on global problems that we’re forgetting, because they stay with us permanently, as information noise. All of us got used to these problems and became much less sensitive.
We spoke with artists about their works, the situation in the world and things that we should do to remember despite the circumstances.

Joke Amusan, German-born Nigerian artist living in England
@ibijoke.img
jokeamusan.com/

How can you describe your art in a few sentences?

My art practice highlights the experiences and complex beauty of what it means to be a Black woman. My art pieces are conversational, encouraging women to come together to speak up, share their stories, and embrace who they are unapologetically. Words are an important aspect of my work and they weave through my practice like a narrative, joining everything together.

Can you call the most important authors in contemporary art? Why?

I admire a lot of contemporary artists and the list changes all the time, but I would say the one constant person I am inspired by is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Although she’s a writer, I still view her as an artist. I admire the way she poetically tells stories and addresses situations that often get overlooked. She’s not afraid to voice her opinions and make sure that she’s heard.

I also love the work of Carrie Mae Weems and her photography work which are powerful yet have a certain vulnerability to them as well. It’s as though we, the viewer, are given an insight into an intimate setting. 

Joke Amusan, Against The Tide

I’m currently interested in the works of Billie Zangewa and her beautifully hand-sewn collage tapestries which explore the intersections of identities too.

Did your artistic vision change in the last few months? And how?

I would say that while my artistic vision is still pretty much the same, my way of expressing my vision has been evolving recently. While I was at university, I explored many different modes of presenting my art, and for a little while afterwards I felt stuck in one particular mode. I’ve recently become very interested in including myself more in my artworks and filming the processes of “staging” some of my art pieces. In this way, I’d like to show the process or journey of getting from A to B, and the various diversions that may present themselves in the middle of that journey. I don’t just want to share the somewhat finished and polished piece, I want every high and low, every mountaintop and valley to be seen in my work. I’m allowing myself to be more vulnerable and enjoying storytelling in that way.

Why  did you decide to participate in the exhibition Do not go out the window?

The theme of the exhibition really stood out to me because I’m a huge fan of speaking up for what’s right and fostering a space where we all listen to one another. I think the Do not go out the window exhibition is important because it reminds us that we must continue to stand strong in our beliefs and not allow the world to sway us. To not allow the obstacles in our way to scare us away from even trying.

What message do viewers will have seen in your works at the exhibition?

The two pieces I exhibited in the exhibition, If You Have A Voice, Speak., and Sharing Stories Breaks Barriers, collectively sums up what my art practice is all about. I initially created them aimed at Black women in a bid to help break down that wall where we feel that we can’t speak up or that, if we do, that it won’t amount to anything. It’s been great to see so many other people also resonate with the pieces. I truly believe that having a united front can break barriers, and the seemingly ordinary conversations that we’re having today can and will shape future generations.

Joke Amusan, This Too Shall Pass – Volume 2

Joke Amusan, Still I Rise

Joke Amusan

What would you like to wish our viewers and all the people in general to remember and never forget?

Being vulnerable is such a powerful and important thing. It is always worth it! Don’t be afraid to go against the current or have different thoughts that others may not necessarily support. Be steadfast and choose to rise again every single time you fall.

 

Elyana Shamselangeroodi, Iran
@elyana.shamselangeroodi
www.elyanashamselangeroodi.com

How can you describe your art in a few sentences?

Creating digital collages came to me at a very difficult time in my personal life. Finding it almost impossible and crippling to put my feelings, thoughts, and experiences into words, I began creating surreal spaces that brought me joy, allowing me to envision a world where life was simple, even in its complexity. My work was once described as ‚making friends with kind giants‘, and at the time it referred to large animals (namely elephants and giraffes) always being central to the stories told. Over the past two years, my work has begun exploring concepts of fear, joy, happiness, sadness. The kind giants have taken shape in facing the fear of the unknown, the difficult conversations, the scary thoughts. My expansion as a person has resulted in my practice extending itself beyond digital collages, introducing mixed media and new media to allow for the stories to unfold as best they can.

Elyana Shamselangeroodi

Can you call the most important authors in contemporary art? Why?

Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, and Vera Molnár.
Dalí and Magritte challenged how we see the world. Unique in their styles and storytelling, they each invite us to view everything from a different perspective, regardless of how unreal they might be. The courage to imagine something beyond the surface, created the fundamentals of many great novels, films, and visual art that we have seen, and continue to explore, in the 21st century. Vera Molnár, one of the pioneers of generative and computer arts, as well as the first woman to use computers in her art practice, introduced a 21st century medium to the arts. She is a major inspiration to me as a female artist, for her bold choice of using a medium that was unthinkable in a way that is complex yet stunning in simplicity at first glance.

 Did your artistic vision change in the last few months? And how?

Over the past year, alongside my digital collages, I have begun working in mixed media and new media as a way to expand my storytelling. In the beginning, getting used to painting over paint, messing things up, and exploring as I went was incredibly difficult to me, and I think that is primarily because digital work allowed me to have multiple versions of the same piece, without having to compromise. Getting over the fear of losing work, and embracing what would unfold as I went along was a challenge for me; however, it is one that I believe has made me a bit more brave. What I have learned in the past few months is trusting your instincts and the process.

Why  did you decide to participate in the exhibition Do not go out the window?

Do Not Go Out the Window highly resonated with me for providing visual arts a platform to be a form of protest against repression. As a woman from a country with many restrictions, especially for women to exist in the society and even in their own homes, we often find unconventional ways to have our voices and stories heard. I found Haze Gallery and this specific exhibition to shed a light on the significance that art can provide at times of personal, societal, and universal need to speak up, unify, and become more brave — and am thrilled to be a part of it!

Elyana Shamselangeroodi, Unlearn

Elyana Shamselangeroodi, Beautiful Ruins

Elyana Shamselangeroodi, Submerged

What message do viewers will have seen in your works at the exhibition?

I think for the unusual time that I found digital collages to be my rescue, I threw my loneliness and its familiar struggles into pieces that made me feel less lonely. Similarly, I have heard individuals connect with my work, empathizing having felt the emotion that the pieces often try to convey silently. I would hope that the viewer knows that they’re not alone, that the struggles they may be going through will make them stronger, that they matter in this world, that this world would certainly be missing something without them.

What would you like to wish our viewers and all the people in general to remember and never forget?

There’s a poem from one of the most iconic contemporary Iranian poets — Sohrab Sepehri — that reads:

Wherever I am, let me be
The sky is mine
The windows,
Thought,
Air,
Love,
The earth
Is mine

This piece has time and time again reminded me that I belong on this earth, regardless of anyone who wants to go against it, and so do you. Live life on your terms. You belong here, you are worthy.

 

Kateryna Repa, Ukraine
@repaekaterina
katerynarepa.wixsite.com

Kateryna Repa, Evolution Earth

Kateryna Repa

Kateryna Repa, CatDog

How can you describe your art in a few sentences?

In my works in the field of painting, sculpture, and media, I touch on the topic of ecology and the impact of human consumption on it, as well as the types of its consequences for the environment and us.
In graphics, these are different manifestations of the human essence, such as it is, in my opinion, at the given moment of development.
I also touch on the topic of evolution and its manifestations, linking it with technologies, their influence, and possible themes of their manifestation.

Can you call the most important authors in contemporary art? Why?

Damien Hirst is great at marketing, some of his work reflects reality.
Marina Abramovich – she brought performance to a new level, some of her works reflect the dark essence of humans.

Did your artistic vision change in the last few months? And how?

Yes, it has changed, it has become more reflective of the events that are taking place in my country (Ukrainian) and has become more manifest.

Why  did you decide to participate in the exhibition Do not go out the window?

I wanted to talk about the real events that are happening now in Ukraine.

Kateryna Repa, Evolution Arch Water

Kateryna Repa, Stingray

Kateryna Repa, Gorilla

What message do viewers will have seen in your works at the exhibition?

The message of humanity. This is the only thing that can help us. And that cardinal changes are needed in the system of government of countries in order to prevent military actions.

What would you like to wish our viewers and all the people in general to remember and never forget?

I want to wish everyone to never forget the person inside of you.

 

Viktoria Salma, Uzbekistan artist living in German
@viktoria_salma
 www.viktoria-salma.com

How can you describe your art in a few sentences?

In my art I’m looking for things hidden behind the facade and trying to capture the beauty of the true self of people and animals, sometimes landscapes. As I truly believe, we all are souls traveling through time and space and each of us has a story to be told.

Can you call the most important authors in contemporary art? Why?

For me it´s Francis Bacon with all the distorted reality in his paintings — his work feels so contemporary to me, especially when we think, what is going on in the world. Adrian Ghenie with his historical topics. And surely Banksy – with his social critical approach.

Victoria Salma

Did your artistic vision change in the last few months? And how?

The last few months showed me even more clearly how important it is to stand for your own ideas and values.

Why  did you decide to participate in the exhibition Do not go out the window?

I grew up in Russia — in our history we learned a lot about violence and injustice. Especially against people who do not agree with the regime. But history repeats just in front of our eyes. I could not stay silent.

What message do viewers will have seen in your works at the exhibition?

The mix media drawings from the series „In Memoriam“, were originally started in honor of victims of Stalinism, as my great-grandfather was one of them. They are about the helplessness and the pain of not being heard. From February 2022 they are developed to be dedicated to all people who suffer from totalitarian regimes.

What would you like to wish our viewers and all the people in general to remember and never forget?

We live in a very special time, where everyone has to find her or his own truth and to stand for it. No one can hide behind others any more.

Victoria Salma, Metamorphose

Victoria Salma, From the current project Tonkashila

Victoria Salma, The spirits I called

Pawel Pacholec, Poland
@paul.piotrowicz
www.behance.net/pacholec-pawel

How can you describe your art in a few sentences?

I wish my art to be thought provoking. Symbols that I use are often related to humanistic and social topics. I don’t consider my collage artworks to be very aesthetic, rather I care more about conveying reflective content. I try to fill the gap after C.G. Jung’s words that we live in thoughtless reality.

Can you call the most important authors in contemporary art? Why?

Since my main technique is collage I will mention the greatest in this field such as Robert Rauchenberg, Kurt Schwitters and Raoul Hausmann. They all created collages in the style of dada which is one of the best ways to comment on current affairs. Their collages were uncompromising, they criticized various political and social situations, often in a sarcastic or ironic way. This is an intelligent approach to art for thinking people.

Did your artistic vision change in the last few months? And how?

Present events in the world inspire deeper reflection. We are facing the greatest economic collapse ever and the social changes are very substantial and moving fast. The Overton Window mechanics can be seen very clearly as never before. I try to respond in an artistic manner to most of these turbulences.

Pawel Pacholec

Pawel Pacholec

Pawel Pacholec

Why  did you decide to participate in the exhibition Do not go out the window?

Topic that you propose is very close to me at the moment. Those massive changes in the world that we witness are forcing me to get more involved in politics and socio-economics. As the saying goes: “Evil feeds on the cowardice of good people”. I don’t want to be silent in these times.

What message do viewers will have seen in your works at the exhibition?

My main concern in life and art is the human condition. There are in my opinion way too many attempts of aggression, abuse and propaganda. I want to point out those subjects. I try to express my dissatisfaction with violence, as well as social pressure, repressions and aims to limit personal rights.

What would you like to wish our viewers and all the people in general to remember and never forget?

Follow your ideals, have some discipline, do and buy art that you love.

Pawel Pacholec, Absurd

Pawel Pacholec, Freedom

Pawel Pacholec, Body In Metamorphosis

Interview with Female Artists from HAZEGALLERY

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW

Text: I r i n a  R u s i n o v i c h
All photos are provided by the authors of the HAZE Gallery

Interview with Female Artists from HAZEGALLERY

Interview with Marina WitteMann

What artwork/series of works do you find pivotal for your career? 

It was a series of colour fields made of paper that has become a turning point for my career as an artist. Prior to that, I analyzed every work of mine considering it to be a new step of development. Thus, my creative self evolved and infused with each of my artworks. However, even I was amazed by what happened at the very beginning of this series.

Ever since I can remember it, I have enjoyed a special relationship with colour. It’s called synesthesia: when sensations emanating from one sense organ are also manifested in another one, for example, seeing the pain in colour or feeling the shape of a cold. Therefore, my art revolved around this. Before, I didn’t understand why it happened. The desire to analyze, reproduce, compare the colour with form and material prompted me to do new experiments. 

I love oil paints for its texture and colour purity, but this has never been enough for me. I felt a need to go beyond the canvas, to feel the colour in the space. In sculpture, the shape interferes with the colour, that’s why I opted for it. The way I work now allows me to use paint and other materials as they are, leaving out the original colour and the history of these objects. That’s how I translate the emotions I experience daily through artistic materials.  

How has being a woman affected your career?

Surprisingly, I have always enjoyed being a woman, though perfectly realizing that women tend to think in a too complicated way and yield to emotions. All that prevents women from discarding the unnecessary and focusing on what is really important. I cultivated those qualities myself, so now I can control my emotions, while still enjoying my feminine essence. I seek to express the tenderness and softness of female nature in the floral and gentle shape of my art objects. The paper structure catches the eye and lets one penetrate the surface at the same time, just like the woman nature implies.

What makes a great artist?

It seems to me that an artist becomes great when their art begins to resonate in the souls and the minds of other people. It’s just the way it works in all spheres of life. A great artist is capable of creating a piece that is equally simple and complex. For example, imagine a work where a composition reveals through the material, while the material, in turn, establishes many associations the viewer might recognize. The colour grabs attention and starts a discussion; the texture excites and awakens a desire to touch the piece, to communicate with it physically… From the work, the viewer gains a longstanding experience and a sense of time. Therefore, a great artwork is inevitably modern, as it reveals the timeless conditions of being alive. 

Which other great women artists inspire you and why?

This list is endless. And by the way, I don’t divide artists into men and women. Primarily, I look at the object or the non-material result of work and only then, will I read the author’s story. I can still highlight a few of my favourite female artists and just women with a capital letter W. A great woman who inspires me is not just a woman who paints with oil or makes sculptures. For me, it’s a creative being full of willpower, authenticity, and capacity to communicate with people and life. 

Here I would like to mention Matrona Moskovskaya as one of my sources of inspiration. Saint Matrona was blind and lost the ability to walk early in life. With all the hardships, she was so strong in spirit that she kept working wonders for people. So those miracles for me are what artists should strive for in their artistic practice. In general, being an artist and a saint at the same time, like Andrei Rublev, for example, seems to me an especially fruitful combination (and history proves it). 

Another Russian artist who inspires me is the ballerina Maya Plisetskaya. Her energy, passion, hard work, strong character, elegance and progressive thinking are what I am guided by in my work. 

Choreographer Sharon Eyal is no less inspiring for me. When I first saw her Untitled black performance in Shanghai, it felt like a shock and an extravaganza. I was struck by the incredible naturalness of the movements the troupe did on stage. Music, costumes — everything looked as if it were taken from the future. It seems to me a real work of art should be just like that: progressive, challenging, highly material, and sensual.

In general, I tend to consider my contemporaries while searching for inspiration. For example, artist Phyllida Barlow is like a teacher to me now. If I have a question, I will certainly look for an answer in Barlow’s works. I love the simplicity of her materials and the way they’re interpreted. The completed work should be viewed not with the eyes, but with the soul. To be able to ‘read’ art objects that have been created on a sensory level, one needs to use their sixth sense. I feel a strong connection with Russian culture here: I guess we, Russians, often communicate this way. 

Last but not the least, I should mention artist Marina Abramovic. I will never stop learning from her. The way she communicates with the viewer and reaches catharsis, the mediums she uses in art, all that captivates my attention. For me, it’s about feelings, soul, experience, and in general the development of the sixth sense.

What advice would you give to emerging female artists entering the art world?

— Take yourself seriously and enjoy the process. If you don’t believe in yourself, then no one will, why should they? In art, you can lie, neither to yourself nor to the viewer; if someone senses a catch, the work won’t be recognized as a true art. At the same time, if you don’t experience pleasure from doing art, you will hardly be able to engage others with your ideas.

— Listen to yourself and constantly work, then everything falls into place.

— Always try new things. And reflect on it.

— Compare yourself with contemporaries and geniuses and draw conclusions: has your work differed; if so, for better or worse etc. 

— Continue to doubt, otherwise you may either remain ignorant or stop your search too early.

Interview with Elena Fuks (Lentov)

What artwork/series of works do you find pivotal for your career? 

I wouldn’t call it pivotal, however, my decision to enter the sphere of art was related to this particular piece. It was the first artwork I sold: a watercolor on an A5 sheet of paper portraying a little girl in the style of Yoshitomo Nara. One day, I was invited to participate in the big student fair of contemporary art at the British Higher School of Art and Design. Among the participants, I was the only non-student; full of hesitation, I was in the process of choosing my future career at the time. Nevertheless, I had all of my artworks sold by the end of the fair.

How has being a woman affected your career?

I find it really difficult to answer this question without having an experience of being a male artist. I can’t say for sure, but female art seems more emotional and sincere to me. 

What makes a great artist?

A great mind and an unquenchable inspiration.

Which other great women artists inspire you and why?

To be honest, I don’t have idols and normally I don’t pay attention to the gender of the artist either. I’m rather inspired by the art piece itself and the emotions it conveys. For me, the pure source of inspiration is hidden in daily life, in the stories and personalities of ordinary people… So you can be the first to transfer these feelings into the realm of art. 

What advice would you give to emerging female artists?

Be yourself, don’t dread the ‘journey’ with all its ups and downs, and always remember about your goals.

Interview with Kristina Okan 

What artwork/series of works do you find pivotal for your career? 

I would say it is my Allusions graphic series. What I did in the period of 2017—2018 defined my entire artistic practice so far. I feel like I have found my voice. Besides, I have realized that the process itself is just as important as the outcome in art. 

How has being a woman affected your career?

Luckily, my gender has never affected my career in neither way. I believe there should always be enough space for both male and female artists on the art scene.

What makes a great artist?

Honesty with yourself. Sensitive interaction with the world. Regular doubting and questioning what you do.

Which other great women artists inspire you and why?

Alicja Kwade is an absolutely mind-blowing artist for me. The way she works with materials such as stone and wood is great and simple and smart and impressive at the same time, it looks like pure magic! Giovanna Garzoni has become my recent discovery: her works are very inspiring because of their mesmerizing quality and a very sensitive admiration of nature they transmit. I also think here of Yayoi Kusama, her parallel universe where you just lose a sense of reality.

What advice would you give to emerging female artists?

Be in contact with your inner voice, never let it down. Always be the best version of yourself. 

Interview with artist Maria Volokhova

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

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

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

Text
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.

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

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

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: weldqueen.com/

Interview with Yang Ge

By /FASHION/, /INTERVIEW

Text – Irina Rusinovich @irinarusinovich
Creative director and Fashion stylist – Miguel Maldonado @miguelmaldonadostylist www.miguelmaldonado.net

Model: Yang Ge @yangge_
Photographer – Dusia Sobol @dusiasobol https://dusiasobol.com
Make-up and hairstyling – Nadia Kosh @nadiakosh www.nadiakosh.com

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 www.giuseppetella.com Anastasia Bogonos @anastasiabogonos www.anastasiabogonos.com Victoria Geiser @victoria.geiser www.victoria-geiser.com Laura Gerte @laura_gerte https://lauragerte.com DAMUR @damurfashion https://damur.fashion