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︎Due to the argumental collapse of the artist, the structure and layout of the interview that we had planned to publish in this last page have been altered. We are moderately sorry this happened. Please note the slightness of the apologies. Due to the lack of audience’s reading skills, it really doesn’t matter if there’s an answer following each question. You will undoubtedly reach your conclusions somehow or other. Good afternoon
We find our character seated at a bar in the outskirts of the city, far from the hectic center, both in space and time. The bartender, who attends his sparse clients with old-fashioned deference, wears a white shirt beneath a dinner jacket. He signals towards the counter, framed by half-empty shelves with a strange array of cleaning products. As we seat ourselves beneath the cold, hard fluorescent lights, our interviewée with a wide grin and a slight arrhythmic twitch in his eye, asks for a shot of Scotch. Is it nervousness or is he a raging alcoholic? Come what may keep on smiling.
Thank you for joining us. I've heard lunch is quite good here. [...] I was impatient to discuss with you the art world and its complexities and strangeness. Do you think that when interviewing an artist there is always the urge to elevate the interviewee without making them uncomfortable? Vlady - no, I have never felt that way.
I once heard Eugenio Merino, in Carne Cruda, calmly answering the question 'What is the meaning of art?' with: Art is all that that is created by an artist and artists are all those that make art. An incredibly broad description that also manages to be inclusive and respectful. The question is: Do you believe that all that is called art, as a result, becomes art?
Vlady - Yes, if you seek for a definitive definition, Merino's one is a good one. However, answering your question: "Do you believe that all that is called art, as a result, becomes art?", I say no. I would reply back: "called art by whom?".
Art needs an artist behind. To me is more important who's behind an artwork. Anyone one can produce an artwork, but not everyone is an artist.
I can think of one indispensable condition for a work of art. The intervention of an artist in the process of perceiving the object. Do you think this is the only possible condition or may there exist others?
Vlady - Perceiving the object? This was maybe the question at the time of Picasso and Dalì. Art is expression, communication; art can be in response to society or our problems, our fantasies.
There must be many possible conditions. I see many artists investigating (still) the colours and the shapes, others are not processing any objects or idea: they are still making colourful compositions, trying to please their eyes. Probably is a sort of art therapy!
Okay. Can you create an artistic axiom? There is no need for a holistic description.
Vlady - I could demonstrate that contemporary art is not a scam, it is just badly communicated and poorly introduced. Basically, a man needs to study the entire art history in order to be able to understand its latest news. "contemporary art it is idiot, or rather, it is an idiot because it is the place where you can allow yourself the joy and freedom of being different and being idiots, of not being framed in rationality. If we thought of it in these terms, many more people - and many more young people - would feel attracted to contemporary art" (Massimiliano Gioni).
I will help you. We can roughly describe art as being an exercise in communication. For example, there springs to mind an exhibition or congress where I haven’t understood or perceived anything at all. If I was asked to give an opinion on them, I’ll make an effort to think about it, sometimes answering that it is shit or others reaching a profound interpretation I have made up on the spur of the moment to appear more interesting. Where do you think the problem lies in this lack of understanding?
Vlady - Today I mainly see two types of art. One is "introverted" and is a reflection of the artist's mind or vision. The other art is "extroverted" because it tries to speak aloud in public. The first is often difficult to understand. Whether the artist wants it or not, it is his/her responsibility to explain his/her effort and make him/herself understood. Extroverted art, on the other hand, is easier, but it can still be useless.
Whether we make art or not, we often fail with our communication. It's easy enough to do something, the hard part is being convincing and conceptually strong. Basically, we can all produce something. The hard part is selling it.
If when contemplating a work of art it is necessary, or at least more enriching, to understand the context surrounding it. Do you consider it indispensable to know the history of its creator? Can you consider a piece without understanding the motivations, history, and context of its creator?
Vlady - Absolutely, this is what art is all about. Art is knowledge, knowledge is more important than "liking" something. I don't like a lot of art, but at least I am happy to understand it.
I understand. Maybe some become authentic rockstars because of that need to know. Is it the popular demand for extremist icons that makes the artistic personality such an eccentric character?
Vlady - Most people live composed and orderly lives, because of work or family. The artists are their projections, they are their mental escapes. Some of my most active fans are lawyers and notaries. I'm not surprised. These people delegate us, because we can say and do whatever we want. They can't even choose the sweater of the color they want. As I see it, an artist is someone with little or no free time. An artist understands that there is only one life and it is very beautiful to live. An artist wants to make the most of it and, like Gabriele D'Annunzio (Italian poet), wants his life to be all a work of art. Any excess is a desire for art.
Okay. If fame shouldn’t be an incentive, I understand there are then legitimate reasons and inadmissible ones?
Vlady - Fame is relative. Famous to whom? The greatest artists in visual art are still not world wide popular. They can travel by plane and eat in restaurants, without being annoyed. What to answer. No, no secret agenda. We all want to have fun, have a live full of peace and emotions, with enough money and resources to get by, as free as it can be. We don't fancy a life in an office, if this can be considered a secret!
We may have to travel to the beginning to find our answers. If Art doesn’t originate from the positive sciences nor Capital’s claws, can you explain the origins of its existence?
Vlady - I have no intention of touching existentialism, not now and not in words.
An artist's life proposal is what draws us to them. Separating themselves from functionality and Capitalism's wheel to come up with new ways of understanding the world. I guess that's why it is difficult to understand why, when visiting exhibitions and galleries, that the artists’ final work can only be obtained by the wealthiest in our society. So, don’t you think that without undermining the hours of work and the value of the piece, the author and the consumer are part of two diametrically opposed realities?
Vlady - Great question. The art that costs an average annual salary as a worker is only a small part. I don't produce art for an elite, nor an elite of buyer is pushing my works. What I make costs a lot less than your bathroom renovation, about the same as the roof rack in your car or the drone of your friend. My time is not that expensive either, today at least.
Now, without considering the artist's economic needs, Could you argue this exchange from a moral point of view?
Vlady - These questions are very intelligent and it is as if they preceded me. Art follows the rules of the free market and the concept of scarcity. something scarce, something rare, if desired by many, it becomes expensive. So, it depends a little on our tastes. If our tastes coincide with the mass, if we too want the same unique material goods as others, it is also a bit our fault if the price is very high.
Sometimes it seems that more than selling a work of art, the real interest lies in selling to finance one 's time to investigate personal artistic projects. There are those who assure that by doing this you break the system from the inside, but, isn’t it the other way round? The system moulding you to cover its needs?
Vlady - Every time we give money to an artist, we are declaring support for his/her future. The money can be used for rent or for a future project, but who cares. did I answer the question? I hope so.
At this point, in spite of the fact that creating a piece to be sold may corrupt the artistic process, we can’t help but ask ourselves if the artist can possibly survive living on the margins of such capitalist motivations and fluxes.
Vlady - In all honesty, there's no shame in having a job. Not all artists have to make a living from their art. Having to make a living from one's art can put the artist in the need and condition of bullshitting, such as accepting demeaning commissions, teaching something silly online and having to advertise him/herself as an idiot, like a 3x2 offer. Sometimes it's best to go to work and not talk about your job. Exactly what we are talking about is the product of art, not art itself. I don't love selling products, that is not why I create art. I prefer getting paid for my time, my projects and my ideas.
And, for example, do you believe that a collaboration between an artist and a corporation or enterprise can still be considered art? Vlady - Honestly, it's a very minor art. All "advertising creatives are failed artists" (Banksy).
Applied art is the product, not the art. Applied art is work, not art. I don't care what my colleague does for a living. That is a private matter. I want to know about his/her art and his/her thinking.
So, designers, graphic designers, photographers, decorators, painters on commission or on call ... they are artists of the applied arts. They are closer to the artisan concept of the term, in which the cost of a product is negotiated with a customer. Real art has no client.
Do you consider that an artistic creation designed for a marketing campaign perverts the very principles of art?
Okay, how many hairs does a monkey have?
And how many teeth does a parrot have?
-Espectacular reasoning. Excuse me, I wanted to change the subject but didn’t know how to. Let’s forget for a second the Art Market. I have been wondering for a while what Modern Art is and I find it extremely difficult to understand. It is as if Contemporary Art were such a broad definition it had ceased to be one. It seems like a stage where everything is permitted. Could you tell me if there’s any proposal, conceptual or visual, or in any other dimension that doesn’t fit into the array that constitutes Contemporary Art?
It seems as if we liked and had a tendency to chaos, indeed, In that line of thinking we can say there exists a sort of denial of the authority figure by the artist, which confers a certain anarchist essence. Could it be that the artist has total control over his work and production? Is the artist a free being?
I am mostly referring to the influences, be it artistic, political, conceptual, ...It may seem that creation is often based on versions, sometimes improved, others impoverished, of previous works. Do you think these influences impede genuine creation?
So does authentically pure art exist?
Yes, well, the world is a cosmopolitan place and maybe, in that inevitable exchange, the influences may be positive. All in all, any action, be it artistic or not, responds to different intentions and I believe that in ‘art’ there are as many motives as artists. Do you believe they are all equally valid?
At this point, do you find that you can’t stop thinking that there may be a generally accepted and shared morality and that certain thoughts and opinions are automatically excluded from the artistic circuit?
Could you describe a type of art that you consider illegitimate? Can art be racist or misogynist and still be considered art?
Hans Jonas considers responsibility to be the burden of freedom. Do you consider that as an artist you bear the weight of responsibility?
If you do agree with this statement, Would you consider that certain forms of art are more acceptable than others? Like, for example, forms that are aligned with certain political ideas in contrast with Abstract Art.
Even so, you must understand that it is easy to make social criticisms as you don’t necessarily need a profound understanding of the subject, but only a simple idea, possibly elaborated in a setting with similar morals. This means that the impact this idea will have will be limited to only symbolically accompanying those who previously had similar views. Could we consider this act to be, not an act of communication but of ideological glorification?
Okay, don’t get excited, Do you consider it is legitimate to trivialize?
Talking about knowledge, what aspects of working as a hairdresser could you compare to the work of an artist? What knowledge do you need to be considered an artist?
Do you think that the interviewed artist could answer these questions without his voice shaking?
And, lastly, do you see any sense in trying to answer these questions?