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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

Interview with photographer Shamil Khairtdinov

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW

Text:
I r i n a  R u s i n o v i c h

Interview with photographer Shamil Khairtdinov

Shamil Khairtdinov was born in Podolsk, Russia, but now lives and works in Moscow. He has been involved in photography since 2014, however, he never studied it. Qualified as a specialist in the oil and gas industry, Shamil graduated from the faculties ‘Creative Video’ and ‘Directing’ at the Wordshop Academy of Communications in 2015. 

The blooming talent of the photographer was soon recognized: his accomplishments were awarded by many professional institutions such as Hamdan International Photography Award (Dubai) where Shamil reached the final in 2016 and Trierenberg Super Circuit contest for photographic art (Austria). Shamil Khairtdinov also participated in various exhibitions for young artists and photographers, including those held in the museums for modern art in Moscow and Austria. He had several personal exhibitions: e.g. at Winzavod Center for Contemporary Art (Moscow). 

I wanted to become better acquainted with Shamil, so I asked him some questions about his approach and artistic path.  

How would you describe your style and your approach to photography? 

I always follow the feelings: the instincts are in the first place for me. You know, sometimes thinking gets in the way. While shooting, I try not to think at all, just taking pictures of the interesting things that wander into my sight. At that moment, all prejudices are turned off, they simply die. Following the feeling, following the instinct: you open up to the outside world, to what is in front of you at that very moment, and start noticing beautiful things. 

In fact, it’s similar to the behavior of a cat. I observed the behavior of my cat for a long time and realized that if something catches her attention, she goes there immediately, without hesitation. So we can compare it to the state of instinct in photography: you move where your eyes lead you without any doubt. Next is the selection of photos. This process resembles a counselling session. It’s important to analyze all images, while making choices, asking some questions like: ‘Why did I choose this stone or this pavement or this person? What attracted me to this? Why am I interested in this at all? Does it maybe have something to do with my past?’. 

As for people, I try to connect with them. The main thing is to read the person’s mind and state in the process of photo shooting. 

Did you always know you wanted to be a photographer? 

No, it happened by accident. Before filming, I worked in advertising. I ran my own little commercial agency. One day I decided to study strategy at the Wordshop Academy of Communications, so I entered the faculty of Creative video and later the faculty of Directing. At the faculties, there were some photography tasks. It all started there. I was just wrapped up. I began taking photos of virtually everything: I took around 1,500 pictures every day and 2 months later, I won a photo competition at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. On March 6, 2014, I quit advertising and decided to dive completely into photo and video shooting. It was like falling in love with a woman at first sight. True unconditional love… That’s how it was here: I knew for sure that I wanted it. In addition to photography, I also work as a cameraman and director.

The topic for the current Purplehaze print issue is WOMEN. What do you think of when hearing this word?

Women are the love. In fact, Al Pacino’s monologue from the film The Scent of a Woman immediately came to my mind! I completely agree with it! ☺

Do you have a different approach to women in your work? 

The main thing is to love. That’s my only approach! ☺

Please tell us about your creative process. Do you tend to follow the same process in each project? 

No, I’m constantly exploring new approaches and applying some of them in my work. However, the approach of instincts that I described at the beginning, I always use it because it allows me to see and feel what’s happening in front of the eyes from a new perspective.

What are the fundamental messages you want to get across with your work? 

Talking about reportage and street photography, I seek to transmit what I feel for the place where I am. I try to show everything with no assessment.

But as for the project series or movies that are in the process of being created, then it’s more interesting for me to show the strength of a person’s spirit, demonstrate what a person is capable of. I love to highlight the stories of the people, who even while finding themselves in the most terrible conditions, retain a piece of soul. Whatever happens, some hope should always stay there. In my opinion, art should encourage people to create and inspire others after all.

What’s the latest project you are working on? 

I’m currently working on a short film, the story of which is based on real events from the distant 2000s. The script and all other things are ready for the project. The budget just leaves to be found! 

Lia’s profile. Where does art meet everyday life or how to distinguish it?

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW

Text: P a u l i n a  B r e l i ń s ka – G a r s z t ka
Edited the text: J u l i a  K r y s h e v i c h
Photo: f r o m  a r t i s t‘ s  a r c h i v e s

Lia’s profile. Where does art meet everyday life or how to distinguish it?

‚I spend a lot of time in my studio: that is the reason for my paintings being photographed and displayed on social media in that particular place. For the past two years, I have been working and thinking about the form of presentation for my works right here. I managed to create a new language of communication with the viewer, which is less literal and figurative. 

Now the paintings show more feelings and emotions than they did a few years ago. Perhaps it’s the specific time of the pandemic, social isolation and omnipresent socio-political conflicts that have strongly affected my way of painting’ – says artist Lia Kimura. One can trace how Kimura’s working style has evolved in her latest cycle of paintings (to be displayed at the artist’s solo exhibition Unpresent at Wallspace Gallery Warsaw, starting from February 2022).

Upon entering Lia’s studio, located on Bracka Street in the very center of Warsaw, one is immediately confronted with lots of abstract paintings. Although the viewer can primarily see human figures in the canvases, it’s not the carnality that is most important in Lia’s works. Applying successive layers of paint serves as an act of symbolic obliteration of memories, fears, experience, and the past. The works are like portals in which invisible fragments of life are hidden. One painting captures a longing for loved ones, another says about the fear of how fast reality changes, while the third one focuses on a specific memory. 

The colors are also worth noting. From pastels and body-like shades to pure and expressive colors — reds, pinks, blues — applied onto the canvas by the artist’s hand; there is even some space for black shades that are gradient and blurred like memories. Moving around the artist’s studio, one can see that her everyday life is exactly such a palette of colors. On a high black tenement wall, the latest pictures look as though they had been hanging there forever.

Lia Kimura, Absence of sound, oil paints on canvas, 2021

Lia Kimura, Touch, 160×120, oil on canvas, 2020

Lia Kimura, Traces, oil on canvas, 100×80, 2020

It is interesting how complementary the space and canvases can be. The aura of the studio is peaceful, somehow soothing, and quiet, though the very hallways and the two rooms with large windows are filled with the untold stories of a hardworking artist, a sensitive woman, a curious human being. Lia describes herself as a thinker whose head is often filled with reflection about existence: she likes to philosophize and explore human nature. This makes the space she works in every day even more refined for contemplating the world. 

The statement about the autotherapeutic dimension of Lia’s artistic work is intriguing. As the introductory text to the Unpresent exhibition suggests: ‚The only psychological, personal, and aesthetic profile that we can read from the paintings is that of the artist‘. It is about building a relationship between Lia, the artist, and her as a human being who faces everyday life. Only when art pieces are brought to public space, i.e. art galleries, the experience of exposing the works takes place. 

Thanks to the titanic work done, both artistically and internally, Lia’s canvases look intriguing and inviting to contemplate. The market success they have achieved seems to prove their validity as independent objects — pieces of art. The works have been appreciated by collectors from Germany, Japan and the USA, as well as by major art critics. Later this year, they will be showcased at one of the most important festivals in Japan — Osaka Kansai International Art Festival 2022. Last year, Kimura’s canvases were exhibited in two London venues — the Fitzrovia Gallery and the Saatchi Gallery. Nonetheless, Lia’s studio where it all began is still remembered as a perfect place where art and everyday life coincide.  

Self Trap, 100×80, 2021

Self Trap, 100×80, 20212

Self Trap, 100×80, 202123

Bio

Lia Kimura is a Japan-born Polish painter. Kimura’s work is mostly connected with her place of birth, search for identity and intensive feelings: the experience of death, alienation, and hope. Her paintings represent both the traditional form of expression and the experimental approach, where figurative forms are matched with abstract matter. 

The artist currently lives and works in Warsaw, where she started her career in 2016.

Her paintings belong to almost 40 private collections (Germany, England, Japan, Switzerland, Poland) and were displayed  at such group exhibitions as Color of life held in the Fitzrovia Gallery and Saatchi Gallery (London) in 2021 and a pre-auction exhibition in Polswissart Showroom in Warsaw (7 December 2021). They will also be shown at the Osaka Kansai International Art Festival (Kenba Excel Building, 28 January—13 February 2022).

More about Lia Kimura’s art: liakimura.com/ 

Interview with artist Lasha Chrelashvili

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW

Text and Photo: Irina Rusinovich

Interview with artist Lasha Chrelashvili

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

I am from Tbilisi, Georgia
12.08.1990

Please tell us about your artistic vita in a few sentences.

I think my artistic vita begins in my dad’s art studio on the top of a soviet apartment building, the
place from which, till this day, I derive knowledge, emotions and questions with which I play with answers. In 2016-2021 I studied at Muthesius Kunsthochschule in Kiel. During which I participated in multiple shows. I can’t brag about the amount of gallery shows I’ve been in, since I’ve always been experimenting with different materials and styles. But I’m sure a lot will change in that direction this year.

How would you describe your creative process?

It is very chaotic, spontaneous and impulsive. I work on multiple different scale paintings at the same time. I believe these dynamics are shown in the paintings as well, I’m just not sure if it’s good or bad, but I look closely inwards during my creative process and I believe this is the most important aspect.

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

I think a big part of the process and the style stems from childhood insecurities and difficulties. What had the most influence was a confession, a very important confession that we don’t really know the place and environment we’re in and we need to study it, despite the fact that by itself everything looks familiar. This feeling of being lost was very interesting for me and acted as a starting point of this thinking, of the new style and process in my art.

What does art mean to you personally? Is there a goal you’re trying to accomplish?

Personally for me art is the reality, the chemistry of you looking or listening and knowing that it’s true, sincere and special. You have no idea why or how but you do know that it’s there.

Probably these are the hormones of reality with which people connect with each other outside of consciousness.

What is your favorite museum or art gallery and why?

Museums aren’t my favorite, they’re way too official. I prefer galleries and experimental spaces, since they’re a lot more candid and real. A lot of people criticize openings, saying that people go there just to talk and drink, but if that’s the case, then it’s good. Isn’t one of the qualities of art to build these sorts of bridges between people?

What’s your definition of beauty?

I try to find beauty in the everyday details. For example, I see a lot of it in a passionate person.

How do you think the art world will shape in the future?

Hard to say. The space is wide open and there are many directions. Despite technological progress and AI, human made art will have a significant value throughout the foreseeable future. Now is one of the most interesting times in the art world. We have an absolute craziness ahead.

What’s next for you?

I’m very motivated because I feel like I’m making my first serious steps towards my career.
A lot of new emotions, still unknown, await me. I’m excited for my solo show in Haze Gallery and I’m very happy that we work together. Thank you for the trust.

Interview with photographer Marco Sanges

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW

Text: Irina Rusinovich
Photo: Courtesy of photographer Marco Sanges

Interview with photographer Marco Sanges

At an early age, Sanges started to work at his uncle’s photographic lab and became fascinated by the crafts and the process of developing and making black-and-white pictures. Sanges prefers analogue photography, as he’s nostalgic for the early 20th century, when life was slower-paced and even feelings seemed to last longer.

Greatly attracted to cinema and the luminous, black-and-white films of the silent-era, in particular, Sanges creates photographs in sequence. Every sequence tells a unique, multi-layered story, contributing to a highly personal, imaginary cinema. The projects staged as live theatrical performances are permeated with magnifying imagination. 

The surrealistic impression of Sanges’ work represents the liberation of the unconscious. The artist aims at creating art outside the boundaries of official culture: he seeks to reject the established values and elaborate some fantasy worlds through illustrating extreme mental states and ideas.

There is also an enchanting, yet dark side of the artist’s work: an intriguing depth that appears to highlight the drama of life and capture the sincerity of the journey. Sanges’ works make the spectator embark on an emotional voyage and lose themselves in the narrative and the power of storytelling.

His exhibitions bring together the works of an artist who is passionate about life in its entirety and continues to evoke, transcend, and excite the world! Although fascinated by digital arts, Sanges strongly believes in the immortality of film and the real essence of photography. He works with a 6×7 camera and always expects the pictures to be perfect at the first raw.

How would you describe your style and your approach to photography?

I would describe my style as cinematographic and complex. I create projects and photographs in sequence, where each story is slowly revealed to the viewer. I use photography as a medium to explore the unconscious and fantasy realms. I like to work using a variety of concepts and techniques, experimenting and bringing creativity in my compositions, designing my own imaginary world, like I were daydreaming, you know.  

The topic for the current Purplehaze print issue is WOMEN. What do you think of when hearing this word? 

Mystery, style, sex appeal, intuition, sophistication. and red lipstick.

Do you have a different approach to women in your work?

I enjoy finding strong and eccentric personalities who become the main characters of my narratives. It’s a desire of mine to tell a story through still images, while also implementing an element of cinema. It’s like a natural progression that remains strongly present. You can clearly see it in my ‚Circumstances‘ series in which I predominantly shot women. 

Please tell us about your creative process. Do you tend to follow the same process in each project?

My creative process is constantly evolving. It does change depending on the project, the subject, and the message I want to convey. The only thing that doesn’t change is my devotion with analogue shooting, i.e. developing/processing films in the darkroom. I’m attached to the old craft of photography, thus, it’s very important for me to carry it on in my practice.

What message do you want to get across with your photography?

I would say the most important thing is the storytelling power of my photographs. For me, each image is a way to address the imagination of viewers, make them experience their own version of the story. Capturing a moment with tension, inspiration, and emotion is the main goal of all my practice.

How has your practice evolved since starting out?

Photography is a vast craft and my practice has evolved a lot since starting out. Working on different projects has allowed me to discover some sides of me that I previously had no idea about. It also enabled me to push boundaries and dare to try out different ways of photographing.

Please tell us about your new COVID series.

The idea of creating COVID series came to me at the beginning of March last year as we got stuck at home. I sought to document the unique period we all were going through and represent it in an authentic and artistic manner. The first part of the project was shot at home: it was just a mixture of daily objects and everyday scenes. Those were the things that became very close to us, meanwhile the external world suddenly became unknown. I guess there was even something comforting in knowing those objects were at our side day after day.

In the second part of the project, I went out following my own shadow and capturing what had remained in the city. That’s how a series of portraits and street scenes arrived. My goal was to express the feelings we all shared during those strange times like a feeling of being imprisoned in a ghost town with the medium of photography. The spontaneous approach I took allowed me to capture genuine emotions and make striking images.

What’s the latest project you are working on?

Currently I’m working on a new project where lights, science, and astronomy are the main subjects. Photographing science and medical objects from the earlier centuries and bringing back the old crafts of astronomy is the goal of the project. The role of light and geometric shapes is very important; it brings a different dimension and definition to each image.

Interview with designer Sasha Gapanovich

By /FASHION/, /INTERVIEW

Text
I r i n a  R u s i n o v i c h
Photos courtesy of the designer

Interview with designer Sasha Gapanovich

Why did you decide to choose fashion designing as a career?

I have been involved in creative work since I was a child. My mother is a sewing technologist; in my early years, I spent a lot of time at the sewing factory where she worked. Thus, my choice of profession was very natural and harmonious for me. Immediately after school, I went to master my sewing skills. It was a design competition that awakened my creative ambitions: I came up with an idea of  making my own collection, and I eventually made one in 2003.

Would you tell us something about your background?

Yes, please. Here is my CV: 

School №13, the seamstress of the top lady’s wear, (1997—2000), Murmansk;

Moscow State Pedagogical University, Technology and Design faculty (2001—2006), Murmansk;
Namodnenie, special diploma for the Everyday Chic collection (2003), Murmansk;
Grantee, business incubator of the Murmansk region (2009);
Grantee, KPD 2010 city competition (2010), Murmansk;
Nordic Look international project participant (2011), Finland—Iceland;
Grantee, KPD 2012 city competition (2012), Best Production Project category, Murmansk;
Advanced training, Art & Design course, Central St. Martins College (2012), London;
Training, Metrics online academy of branding and design (2020), Moscow; 

And some of my best performances:

Barents Fashion Week (2008), Russia—Norway;
Fashion show (May 8—11, 2009), Norway;
La Belle Hollywood fashion show (2011), Oslo, Norway;

Beauty of the Polar Region regional contest, designer (2011, 2012), Murmansk;
Jury Member, Namodnenie, the regional festival of young designers (2011—2021), Murmansk;
Sicily Fashion Project (2015), Sicily;
Lexus Fashion Day (2017), Murmansk;
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, season 42 (2021), Moscow;
Lamoda fashion reality show (2021), Moscow;
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, season 43 (2021), Moscow;

Collaborative project between the Ethnographic Museum of St. Petersburg and the platform for young Russian brands Front (2021), Moscow—St. Petersburg; 

More than 100 publications in various international and Russian magazines, including but not limited to: Vogue Russia, Vogue Italia, L’Officiel Australia, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle Russia, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, L’Officiel Russia, Grazia, Glamour, BURO, The Blueprint, Beinopen, Purplehaze

Is it difficult to be a fashion designer in Russia?

It is, especially, in the regions. There is virtually no financial support for talented young people: for all the time I have been working as an artist, the situation remains unchanged…

You design wonderful things. I wonder who or what is your source of inspiration for work?

Speaking about the last collection, the main source of inspiration for it was my native land: the nature of the far north, its colors and textures, the general mood of the places I was born and raised in. 

It is also interesting how you combine femininity and volume. What is the story behind it? 

It’s hard for me to say what kind of story is behind this mix of large shapes and vibrant femininity. Yet indeed, in my early years, I would always gravitate towards the large shapes breaking into space and the flowing feminine silhouettes.

What is your favorite part of being a fashion designer?

My favorite parts are creative research, conceptualization, the sketching stage, and the demonstration of the collection itself, where you can see the overall result of your work.

Please define fashion.

Fashion is something very fast, bright, and cutting-edge, conveying the sentiments of society — and going one step ahead. 

How do you stay up to date regarding fashion?

I analyze trends. Information comes from everywhere, even if you’re not specifically looking for it.

What do you think about work ethics? What kind of ethics do you think one should follow while working in fashion?

In my opinion, we shouldn’t only speak about fashion,  but also other areas of humanity.

How would you describe your personal style?

My lifestyle is rather ordinary: I am a working mum of four daughters living in the far north. I would compare my everyday life with something comfortable, cosy, big, warm, layered, and agender, but necessarily with a pair of interesting and accentual shoes (shoes are a particular passion of mine). 

If it is an event, it should be restrained, either of an interesting cut or a laconic silhouette, with print accents and a combination of fabrics. 

Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?

I’m still a mother and a friend to my daughters, a designer of a brand with a mature, worldwide recognized name, not just a start-up. I enjoy a loyal following and have a boutique in Paris (which is my big dream actually). Time will tell 😉

Interview with artist Ming Lu

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW

Ming Lu credit Irina Rusinovich

Text: I r i n a   R u s i n o v i c h

Interview with artist Ming Lu

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

I was born in 93 in a seaside city in China.

Please tell us your artistic vita in a few sentences.

After graduating from Royal College of Art, I did an artist residency in Berlin and moved here afterwards. Berlin has been a very welcoming city for me, I was lucky enough to find my galleries. Meanwhile I also participated in various group shows at both non-commercial organisations and commercial galleries, including König Galerie, Centre Francais de Berlin,  Museum of London etc.

How would you describe your creative process?

I work closely with the centuries-old handicrafts that rooted in my culture. As Made-in-China mass production being a global industrial phenomenon, I turn the slow and labor-consuming craftsmanship into conceptual contemporary art with the visual languages that I’m trying to build these years. I work across different mediums, including sculpture, embroidery, porcelain, installation etc. Concept is more important to me compared to a specific medium, and humour is a vital elements throughout my works.

Dialogue – reason

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My Favourite Little Soul

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

It was the moment I realized that the languages I learnt and used to create was very westernised (it still is now). It hit me and I started to reflect and self-criticise, then I started to look more into history.

What does art mean to you personally? Is there a goal you’re trying to accomplish?

With the mixture of cultures, I create work playfully with explorations of self-identity, collective memories and personal narratives, both in its content and in its visual languages.

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

I might have different life philosophies in different stages of my life.

What is your favourite museum or art gallery and why?

I enjoy wondering in all museums with ancient Egyptian, African, and east Asian collections, however most of these museums have a colonial history.

Tigress ⅠⅠⅠ

Who would you most like to collaborate with and why?

I would like to collaborate with kids the most. The way small kids draw a line and shape before any art training always fascinates me, there is almost a primitive sense in it.

How has covid affected you and your art?

Covid started shortly after I moved to Berlin. At the beginning of this pandemic many art activities were cancelled, it isolated me but also gave me a lot of quiet time to create and reflect.

From September 1 to September 13, your solo exhibition will be held at HAZEGALLERY. Tell us more about the exhibition.

The exhibition shows my continuous explorations of ancient culture with humour and playfulness. One of the highlights will be my half snake half human soft sculpture “Mawa” that inspired by folk tale and ancient stone carving figures. “Mawa”, that sounds like “mama”, has a connection with the first goddess in the Chinese culture. But Mawa is not old or aged, her soul is as young as mine, and what I experience resonates in her ancient echoes. She is a contemporary goddess grows from the blossom of the past.

The show also includes my first porcelain installation. The porcelain are carved with texts & symbols with a special glaze so light can shine through their bodies, and creates an immersive and mysterious situation for audiences to experience and wander around.

What’s next for you?

I’m working towards a solo show at Haze Gallery in September this year, in the meantime I’m working on a porcelain project, a series of bronze sculptures and an installation.

Interview with P.C. NEUMANN

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW

JOHNNY ROSZA Leigh Bowery and Trojan, 1983 – Courtesy Collection PC Neumann Berlin

Text

Iren Russo

Interview with P.C. NEUMANN

P. C. Neumann is a Berlin based cultural entrepreneur and film producer who studied business- and media management.

During his 20-year tenure in the media business, he produced movies, documentaries and entertainment shows, including the first feature film on the subject of AIDS: Via Appia in 1989. Being at the forefront during the rise of the internet, he produced the first web TV project at German television ZDF. Many of his film and TV productions have received the highest awards, including the Grimme-Preis.

P.C. has a special interest in 20th Century Art and Design and is a curator of various exhibitions for art fairs and projects in the private industry.
He will be curating the the PUNK show at the Berlin Photo Week coming up on 26th august – 29th august
We wanted to know more and asked him a few questions!

Your career path started in the media business where you produced films, documentaries, and entertainment shows. What made you turn to curation? 

When I developed the world’s first Internet-based interactive TV format in 2000, this was inevitably already the transition into a new dimension for me: the development of cross-discipline concepts and entry into a digital world that also has to be curated in a special way.

What was the first show under your curation?

My first curatorial activity was an exhibition with the film cameras that my father had collected during many years. However, the visitor could only admire the original boxes that contained the cameras. So, the viewer had to imagine the actual technical device in his imagination, it was not present as a three-dimensional object, I was 16 years old, when I created this provocative exhibition, which met with much incomprehension.

Is there a certain art direction you pursue to represent as curator?

No, art is not definable for me, we are all art objects in our own right.

How do you feel about the many new people entering the Art world? 

Most have no imagination, no clear goals and no stamina – they live in an illusion

Olaf Heine Iggy Pop, Miami, 2001 by Olaf Heine Studio

GENESIS BREYER P-ORRIDGE Topless Poor-trait – Courtesy Collection PC Neumann Berlin

PC Neumann 2020 Foto by Elina Liepina

What do you look for in an artist? 

Positive thinking, authenticity, transgressive action, storytelling skills.

Are you gut-based or academic? Do you look at an artist’s resume? 

I never look at the resume. I always meet the artists in person and talk about dreams and life goals.

Tell us a bit the PUNK project?

The Punk Project exemplifies how differently and yet consistently punk has influenced the visual arts, the gaze of young people, and the ciphers of revolt in various cultural spaces and sociopolitical milieus – since the 1970s and until today. The profound significance and far-reaching aesthetic influence with which the cultural and avant-garde currents of our time react to the epochal revolution brought about by the decade of punk is only slowly crystallizing. Even more than the musical impulse, the attitude, aesthetics, and formal language of those years are carried on through photography, fashion and design as the impulse of a constantly varying development. Punk is not only photography, also videos, textiles, fanzines, and contemporary art show how diverse creative the expressions of punk are.

With all the new technologies where do you see the art world going? Do you see it becoming different?

The art world will change completely, and the boundaries of the analog world have already softened. Digitization is creating new art forms, artists will change originals with digital technologies and also create products that will reach the mass market. This will create new sales channels, which will also force gallery owners to create new exhibition concepts. The world of the white cube is soon coming to an end. The new art world is creating its own influencers, content creators and art blockchain platforms are opening up new opportunities for investors to become active in the art market.

PC Neumann 2020 Foto by Elina Liepina

JOHNNY ROSZA Leigh Bowery and Trojan, 1983 – Courtesy Collection PC Neumann Berlin

What’s next for you?

I’m involved in NFT art projects that tell stories in a completely new way on the one hand, and in preparation for an interactive feature film to be produced later this year on the other.

Instagram P.C. NEUMANN @p.c.neumann

Artist In Focus: Janik Gensheimer

By /ART/, /BLOG/, /INTERVIEW

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Text
I r e n  R u s s o

Artist In Focus: Janik Gensheimer

How did you get into photography? 

For a school project I started to dig into abstract photography. I got all the books I could get my hands on from the library and spent all summer learning as much as I could about it. In autumn I tried all kinds of abstract photography experiements in my black-out room.

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Can you tell us about the process of making your work? 

First of all it needs a great idea. No matter if it’s for a personal project or a job with certain requirements, the idea and the concept are the most important part for a coherent series.

My aim is to implement each job in a way that it’s good enough to make it into my portfolio. I want to create photographs that touch the viewer and create emotions. This cannot be done only through great execution. The content of the picture has to be compelling, has to be new, and polarizing. My photograph is a good one when it makes the viewer pause and provokes a reaction. This is what I’m going for in every photograph I create.

When it comes to architecutal photography the process is a bit simpler. The preparation is a detailed analysis of the building and the location. I then decide on which time of day I have to where and in what weather conditions. Everything else is then created during the process of photography. I try to get a feel for the architect’s idea and bring the three-dimensionality into the two-dimensionality of photography through my clear and simple style. To me, the highest art in photography is to find a clear, unbiased perspective, in which I don’t influence (architectual photography is documentation) while still creating emotions.

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Do you have a favourite photograph or painting, which inspires you?

Untitled, 1992
Adam Fuss

Which photographer  of the past would you most like to meet? 

Man Ray

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

thankfully not.  I’ve always known that that’s gonna be my path and my passion.

What advice would you give to a young artist following in your steps?

My own path to being an artist is long from finished. Instead, I’d like to answer this question in regards to a path to photography.

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I think it is important to take enough time to figure out what kind of photographer and artist you want to be.
There are a milion possibilities, but if you want to be successful and be able to give it all you’ve got, you should be in it with your head and your heart, and love what you do.
A good, solid training is the first step on this road. Ask yourself where you can get the best training for what you want, regardless of the degree that comes with that training. For some people a regular apprenticeship with a good photographer might be a better fit than a university programme. Keep in mind that it requires a high quality of your educational insitution that also aligns with your own interests.
Once you’ve finished your training assist, assist, assist. There is no better way to gain precious experience of what your day-to-day life as a photographer is going to be like. Mistakes aren’t as grave and you’re starting to build a network that might pay off down the road. Never forget being a photographer is also being a business (wo)man. You’ll need to know how to run a business, because being a good photographer won’t help you to land any jobs.

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Instagram Janik Gensheimer: @janik__g
www.janikgensheimer.de