A complex artist and a complex man - this is nothing quite so simple as political art. It is a proudly Russian voice striving for spiritual and mental freedom and the realisation of his country’s true potential. While creating some extraordinarily thought provoking art and urban interventions along the ride. We caught up with the man himself - despite the language barrier, it’s a fascinating insight into a beautifully subversive mind and son of struggles past and present...
Do you see your art as a form of resistance or as a form of reflection? Or is defining it missing the point?
Every tool I use is a weapon. Living in an impoverished country and always battling to survive has defined my identity and so I can’t really conceive or discuss anything outside the struggle for freedom we have all fought so hard for here. For me, my art is a complete reflection of me and I am born out of resistance and struggle at core. That has been my life. So yes.... resistance.
Tell us about the projection work
Once I started to venture down into subterranean Moscow and began immersing myself in the atmosphere of the past, I wanted something to create opportunities within it. But I hesitated to paint and leave a permanent mark as it would compromise that very atmosphere I found so fascinating. And then one day, down in the catacombs near a waterfall, a drop of water hit my torch and reflected the light through its prism onto the stone. Instantly – there it was a huge hole projected in shining brilliance onto the wall – almost looking like a portal. I realized then and there that I needed to build a fully autonomous, fully mobile projector that could operate from any voltage source – no matter how rough and ready. Once I had the tools in place – I began projecting pictures and photos onto the dungeons, the catacombs and the abandoned shelters – images of the times when all those abandoned spaces were part of people’s daily lives. As time passed, I started doing whole panoramics with the projector and began bringing the ghosts of history back to life within their original context – and there it was - underground light art.
If you were caught by the police – what would happen?
Anything can happen – it all depends on the circumstances. Saying that, most problems can be solved without too much stress as all of my work has meaning and they the police do become aware of that meaning and treat me with relative care.
Where is the line between working for free and free expression?
Unfortunately, I depend on having some sort of income to have the means to implement my ideas. I have always held a clear line between art and earnings. And by the way, the same line exists between vandalism and art, because vandalism in its purest form is for me, one of the essential forms of expression itself. I want to carry the ideas and thoughts of the dead and the forgotten genius of my country, I want to raise their thoughts and the truth for which they fought. I want to help people to think and live better.
READ FULL INTERVIEW HERE IN ISSUE 9
READ LSD MAGAZINE ISSUE 9 - FREE (Below)