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Painting as a stimulus | KORYDOR
Painting as a stimulus
The triptych “First on the Moon” by Odessa artist Kolodiy, who has been living and working in Moscow for eight years, became the trademark of the media campaign for the Art Arsenal’s recent project “A Space Odyssey”. The artist spoke with Liza German about his motivating for participating in the project, the Ukrainian arts situation in the late 1990s – early 2000s, and the nature of contemporary painting. Lizaveta German: Tell us about your participation in “A Space Odyssey” and the series of works, as I understand, made especially for the project. Kolodiy: Last late year, Oleksandr Solovyov invited me to participate in “A Space Odyssey”. I gladly agreed. There were no restrictions on the choice of medium. For example, you could make an installation. But I consciously decided to paint. Firstly, I am more familiar with this material. Secondly, I paint a lot lately, and I’m focused on the flat surface, so to speak. There are pluses and minuses to a work made specifically for a project. In this case the topic was so global, so comprehensive, that there were no obstacles to the imagination. The idea was born quickly, and the process wasn’t long or painful.
I understood what contemporary art was and I felt that it was mine. L. I was still a student and ventured from the world of traditional art into a circle of completely different artists. performances…This was all new and appealing after typical boring academic workshops and exhibitions at the Artists Union. the first big portion of food for thought I received was in the famous kitchen of Alexander Roitburd on Schepkina St. I primarily mean Ukrainian transavangard.: You began you artistic career in Odessa? K. And most importantly. “you have to know the places to look”. For example. There for the first time I flipped though the pages of magazines such as “Art in America” and “Flash Art”. Today children dream of becoming programmers and economists. became the continuation of my personal searches.: What was your understanding of “contemporary art” then? K: In short. Of course I knew very little then about contemporary art.G. I’m not the one to judge whether it was good or bad. But we can do even less outside the Earth. This worldview was close to me. But the experience of the exhibition will certainly prove useful for future large-scale art projects. as I recall. It was a sort of professional social network. In general. I survived my enthusiasm for Cubo-Futurism and ended up in a state of post-modernism. In addition. The curators of Art Arsenal are seeing the end result. The virus of contemporary art entered by body and infected me for life.: 1993 can be considered the beginning. it’s a completely different way of thinking.: What was your impression of the situation in Ukrainian art in the early 2000s? korydor. even if it’s not perfect. It’s a metaphor of our weakness. honor and conscience of our epoch.: What do you think about the project overall? K: “A Space Odyssey 2011” was held and I think it was held successfully. My childhood was at a time when Soviet victories in space were a subject of special pride.in. Postmodernism triumphantly crossed the planet and it was clear that this paradigm was the only true doctrine – the mind.08. Later I learned about the Italians and many other interesting phenomena in contemporary painting. Information about world art came in small doses and with some delay. And probably after reading stories by Sorokin. it turned out that painting itself – a medium that seems to be traditional and understandable – can be quite different. so to speak.12 Painting as a stimulus | KORYDOR Almost everyone thinks about space when they’re young. but we dreamt of becoming cosmonauts. incomprehensible and unreachable. were the Americans on the moon or not. which reached its peak at the time. Perhaps there are some shortcomings. bypassing capitalism. Now it’s even strange. our view of the cosmos is still naïve. I may be mistaken. installations. all this mysterious infinity will remain undiscovered.G.06.ua/en/…/706-kolodiy-givopis-eto-neizmenno-silniy-esteticheskiy-i-intellektualniy-razdragit… 2/5 . Mastering such a space is no easy matter.the first major international project in Odessa. our helplessness. I had my fist personal exhibition at the Odessa Museum of Western and Eastern Art. and in some way. that stopped at the Russian avant-garde of the early 20th century. I’m glad I had the chance to express myself on this topic. Everything began with this exhibition. rough edges. There was no internet. we suspect and assume. using new tools and materials for expression. The triptych is called “First on the Moon” but it’s not only about lunar conflicts . Objects.G. Just as many Soviet republics moved from feudalism to socialism. and our fear of this scary and bottomless blackness. L. In 1994 I began participating in various exhibitions and projects. Certain crowds and the art community were those places. but I’m not disappointed with the result. L. It was transmitted via “our” channels and most often passed from hand to hand. after seeing Kabakov’s works and texts in a magazine. The first such event was the contemporary art festival “Free Zone” . etc. and two small paintings by Leiderman that were hanging in that apartment on Schepkina. We know very little about the universe.for example. and Jeff Koons’s catalogue.G. As they said at the time about the deficit. L. in Odessa. but there hasn’t been an exhibition of this scale in Ukraine for a long time. Space is infinite and you can talk about it infinitely.
is evidence of this. Overall. interactivity and. If someone managed to find assistance. such as premises for a workshop or exhibition hall. there were curatorial projects using the same methods. there should be different institutions: galleries.08. He gave us several TVs korydor. if there were any sales. some took up applied art. Foundation CCA. of course. moved to Vienna. once Ukraine became a full-fledged European country.the owner of an appliance store. three-quarters of all galleries in SoHo closed. most of us saw grants not as an end. is not a large city. For example. We would still have created even without subsidies. L. Many began thinking about what to do next. Moscow. once the crisis ended. One after another. Another matter is that a sort of special-interest art has appeared: there is a generation of artists that works on institutional orders (mostly western templates) and often does this coldly and distantly.early 2000s. In addition. Many moved away – to Kyiv. but as a means. Tel Aviv…My friend. For example.: We need all forms of support for art: commercial. However. and as soon as the funding ended.ua/en/…/706-kolodiy-givopis-eto-neizmenno-silniy-esteticheskiy-i-intellektualniy-razdragit… 3/5 . At the time there weren’t any. but also have “progressive” views. New York. But then we unexpectedly got help from a sponsor . The televisions for the exhibition we also borrowed from friends. There was no art market in Ukraine. Domestic sponsors and patrons didn’t appear. for example. and someone might buy something. They say that in a year or two. after all. the situation was totally opposite.G. we made art. Interest from other charitable organizations was weak and cautious and assistance was insignificant. pop art…there were only current “stars” like Bazelits and Keifer. someone would be interested in it. The most important thing was the desire to express yourself. There were many reasons for this.12 Painting as a stimulus | KORYDOR K: I knew less about the situation in Kyiv even though I visited the capital often. a very talented musician. After a decade of an active.the center of the world art market in those years . What’s more.06.G. Sales. There was the “Russian Boom”. issues and designs . without expecting quick commercial success. Then there were problems with funding for non-commercial art. an internal conflict broke out among artists in Odessa that was the cause of the schism in the art community. Prices for art fell markedly. Some left art for good. Odessa. Fatigue from the formulaic means of representation. were occasional and sporadic. The situation in New York -. But this wasn’t most important. foundations and museums.: Do you think there is a need today for contemporary art centers (centers. L. today is struggling for survival. use of new media. they were few and far between. the art ended. my co-author and I did our first video installation without the support of any foundation. while state institutions didn’t notice us. And connoisseurs still hadn’t appeared in Ukraine. the world art market was in a period of stagnation after the stock market crash. They should exist in every large city. I remember flipping through an American art magazine and noticing announcements predominantly for retrospective exhibitions: post-war art. or very few.turns out little has changed in 10 years. The main function of contemporary art centers should be diverse support and popularization of contemporary art. The western market was partly saturated with post-Soviet art and lost interest in this region. Such artists appeared here and in other countries in the 1990s. These people stopped being artist and curators. We resolved all the issues ourselves. Perhaps that’s why the 1990s saw the flourishing of art projects that differed from the established market with greater focus on social issues. Accordingly. it’s poor. The market doesn’t work well. One must not only be wealthy to collect modern art.small ones and so-called “mass graves”.: Regarding the problem of funding for non-commercial art . Our friends leant us their camcorders and we borrowed two VCRs to do the editing. This conflict destroyed the convention in this group of very different Odessa artists and essentially blocked the artistic process. it was the result of personal connections.in. artistic life in Odessa. charitable and public. We used pipes we found in the trash. even violent. They worked “under a grant”. We hoped that sometime later. But in Odessa. The Soros Foundation was closing its program. which has a policy of non-commercialism. What was the art market like in the 2000s? K: In the late 1990s . by 2000 there was a lull. not galleries or museums)? And what should be their main function? K.
especially if not stored properly. This brings to mind the beautiful stories about Van Gogh and Modigliani. And the percentage of creativity output is low. make art and fill showrooms. Your expectations weren’t met? K: Yes and no. but the discourse remains. Time has shown that a drawing is always relevant. by nature I am still a painter. canvas and oil are more durable materials. But then unexpectedly I was offered the position of art director at a Moscow design firm. Graphic design excited me for a while. The last project that we managed to do at a Soros CCA was “Painting Workshop”. only one stayed in Odessa. Plus. But. gained control over new tools. A designer’s product. I felt that I needed a break. as you say. paint and participate in art exhibitions. In addition. It’s very close to the fine art. A designer is dependent on the will and taste of the client. Those who want additional creative realization participate in design festivals. I know how to draw and have experience with contemporary art. It ended with two exhibitions of paintings . There I became part of a new art community. I didn’t have to radically restructure my conscience.06. Because I worked in graphic design.: Painting still competes with newer techniques. many works live even less… K. L. doesn’t live long. But it never dies. talented and mediocre. as a rule.08. Of the six participants. Except perhaps if you get lucky and come up with the Coca-Cola logo. L. That at some point they will be remembered and get what they deserve. No gallery will ever throw an artist’s painting in the trash after an exhibition. and I saw in it great opportunities for creative outlet. apartments.12 Painting as a stimulus | KORYDOR and a camcorder. But it has many downsides from the perspective of someone coming from “pure art”. and this often destroys creativity at the root. galleries. I needed a change. I even had a slight an advantage – unlike many designers. But by training and. Canvas has been burned and slaughtered for a long time. I came to Kyiv.: In contemporary art practice. Thousands of artists. That’s why many works that weren’t digitized in time have been ruined. if just for a few hours on opening day.: Let’s return to the early 2000s. L. but it’s different. perhaps. Design is an interesting profession. there is still much that is interesting and unseen on “the other side of the glass”.: Are you thinking about working with other techniques or formats? What place do you see for painting in contemporary art? K. which is also significant for the artist and collector. Trends change. Time passes and you look back and see how much time and effort was wasted on something that became trash or sank into oblivion. L.: You say this in the past tense.one in the studio where the workshop was held and the second in the Odessa Art Museum.G. And this nature takes its course.in. korydor. But this is probably a reflection of a painter that moved into design. This material has a mysterious and inexhaustible strength. spent some time here and expected to stay. And that’s why you went to Moscow? K: Yes.G. The surplus they store in their workshops hoping that someday this will all be in demand.: How do you manage to unite design with so-called “pure art”? K. museums and other places with them. L. To put it simply . In advertising this is called creativity.ua/en/…/706-kolodiy-givopis-eto-neizmenno-silniy-esteticheskiy-i-intellektualniy-razdragit… 4/5 . Perhaps the most radical formal experiments are behind us.G. And the artist won’t either. died down. And when you see in the trash all the work that you spent three weeks of your life on.G.G.much of your time and effort is spent making things that in a few days become waste paper. For the last century this has been an invariably strong aesthetic and intellectual stimulus. A simple example: video art of the 1990s used tapes with a magnetic film that disintegrates rather quickly.: For a time I was fully immersed in new materials and swapped my paintbrushes for a computer graphics tablet. That’s why painting is hidden from time to time. Plus there were personal reasons. there is a strange feeling of hopelessness and meaninglessness. Artistic life in Odessa. I suspect that graduates of the Stroganov Art School or Moscow Polygraphic Institute aren’t bothered by such thoughts and peacefully earn money.: Maybe. oddly enough. And some get lucky. including geography.
The selection of material. it doesn’t let you relax.08. As soon as there is a national biennale in Kyiv and a modern art museum. And it’s even nicer if it’s a 100 inch. etc. In this sense. Although in general. politicians. but hopefully I will have an exhibition by the end of this year. As for other media. for example. And in order for all these interests to be taken into account. this rhythm feeds you. This vibrant energy.06. wasn’t that noticeable at the last Manifesta in Murcia. It’s like a TV at home: you can live without it.in. using the cinematic term. Spain) would be far more appropriate and beneficial for the Ukrainian art world than its own “blockbuster” biennale. and the result to satisfy everyone in one way or another. today I think Kyiv isn’t far behind in terms of quality or number of art events. however.: Artistic life in Moscow is in full swing year round and this is a big plus. artists. L. And it’s nice if it’s an HDTV. I’m currently working on a series of paintings for it and there’s a bunch of sketches waiting their turn. as a rule. Don’t you think that a national biennale could become more of a show rather than promote positive movement in the Ukrainian artistic process? K. A major art event is a necessary component for a civilized country.: And how many inches will your personal “television” be? Or as journalists like to put it. in rare exceptions. The event will attract the attention of a small group of dedicated people. It would be great if the interest in the biennale was the same as to the European football championship. as you say. And sometimes the material itself can encourage the creation of a work. I wasn’t the only one that thought that this year’s art fair in Kyiv was much better than Art Moscow.ua/en/…/706-kolodiy-givopis-eto-neizmenno-silniy-esteticheskiy-i-intellektualniy-razdragit… 5/5 .G. more like home. but I think a national “blockbuster” could draw the attention of the local business and political elites. can’t be recreated. I’m not an expert. That is probably my main creative plan for this year. media.G. but it’s better to have one. You can’t rule out that the resonance from the Manifesta might be less than expected. Many in the professional Ukrainian art community believe that by hosting this forum. as opposed to an installation.12 Painting as a stimulus | KORYDOR Documentation. the difference between the two capitals will be erased completely. Kyiv is a more familiar city. known for its intellectual slant and focus on the local context (the latter. I’m not limited right now by any deadlines.: Let me start by saying that Manifestas and any other event of that caliber is also. and several new exhibition halls and contemporary art centers appeared in the country ahead of this mega event.G. L.: What do you think of the Moscow art scene today? How comfortable is it to live / work / exhibit there? And how does Kyiv look on this background? K. the event can’t be quiet or. L. a “blockbuster” because it involves the interests of many people: experts. “wake up” the country. For example. “art house”. I don’t see any obstacles. korydor. Moscow is a tough city and “doesn’t believe in tears”. what are your creative plans? K.: You may have heard that Ukraine is in the running to host the European Biennale Manifesta in 2014. or something. It’s like the Olympics. is dictated by the idea. In general. It’s difficult to say which is preferable or useful. it is important for me as an artist that such an event takes place at all. If some time ago Kyiv had to catch up to Moscow. sponsors.: I have not had a personal exhibition in a long time.