PULSE PRIZE WINNER 2018
As our most recent PULSE Prize winner (Miami 2018), how has this recognition carried you into 2019?
I’m delighted, of course, to win the PULSE Prize award, and it's nice that the project has been held in high regard by the jury. Market is a performance project, an action project with its own history; it has already been shown several times, and is now presented as a part of the main program at the Venice Biennale. Of course, the Biennale is a non-profit structure, and the Market is not to be sold there. It is rather a kind of “full” version of Market, composed of elements of different projects accompanied by its description and so on. Participation in the PULSE Art Fair was important to me in terms of introduction to the American audience as well as Voloshyn Gallery. This experience also became an interesting episode in the history of Market, itself.
You are trained in sculpture and your work plays on Soviet traditions of public art and mosaic, how did you come to your practice and how has it evolved over the years?
My classical education in sculpture influenced many of the things that I do now. It is easy for me now to work with heavy materials thanks in part to this education — I know how to cast molds, etc. Soviet traditions are also of great importance; I often refer to the monumental art of the Soviet period, especially by directly using tiles mosaics. Tiles were often used in the Soviet Union, since the stuff was cheap and I continue this tradition. In addition, I create not only two-dimension works, but also objects and padded things. Through this material, there is more than simply conceptual meaning that is of great value to me.
There are laws on Decommunization that justify elimination and destruction of monuments and monumental compositions of the Soviet period in Ukraine since 2014. I see it as a barbaric process that the cultural community is struggling with; archiving and protecting these monuments.
My approaches to work with tiles differ significantly. For example, in my Second Hand project, on which I have been working since 2015, I use second-hand tiles, taken from the walls of various buildings and create objects in the form of clothes. Here, tile is not just a visual material; it is also about changing the function of the buildings that I take the tiles from, which, like second-hand clothing, change their owners. I basically work and experiment with other materials.
What area of the contemporary art scene are you most inspired by currently?
This has always been a difficult question for me. One day I am inspired by one thing, then, by something totally different. I don’t have any favorite artists, but I try to see as much as possible. I am interested both in old classical and modern arts. As for trends in my work, I am interested in interaction with space. The layout of a gallery exhibition in the so-called “White Cube” is of no interest for me; lately I prefer public art, work in the framework of festivals and biennale. In everything I do I focus, first of all, on my own experience.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Honestly, I can’t remember any right now. Nobody gives me advice lately, and those given before I managed to forget, because they have ceased to be relevant.
What’s coming up next for you?
Right now, presentation of a new version of the Market is taking place in the framework of Ljubljana Biennial Of Graphic Arts. There’s another example of interaction with space — since the exhibition space is the former fish market, the set of products I show here change to “fishery products”. By the way, Market prices in Ljubljana are higher than in Miami (1 gram = 1 euro), since the price, as you remember, depends on the currency of the country where the presentation takes place.
Throughout the summer I plan to engage in landscaping Ukrainian cities: 2 public art sculptures in Pokrovskand Melitopol (small towns in the east and southeast of Ukraine, respectively). I also plan to finish Bicycle parking sculpture in Pokrovsk, which I was not able to do because of active participation in international projects.