Our interview with the Italian artist Sergio Padovani
N.:
-As opposed to the "plastic" art of painting, music has no form or obvious way that captures the space and / or time, forming a kind of monument of the inner attitude of the artist. As you submit, your art had a musical embodiment in the beginning and only later it was applied  on the canvas. How did you manage to "grope" a visual side of your art and what was the reason for it?

  
Sergio:
-That is true, music has been and still it's very important for me. I was definitely interested by the composition, whereas the live performance, where the exhibition embodies other aspects and where the repetition becomes the rule, moved to the background. Years later different musical experiments, I have understood that I had to change the approach to artistic communication and therefore, thanks to a casual meeting with Odilon Redon's painting, I decided to "explore" the painting, where the compositional aspect is total, while the one of the exhibition is, for me, completely void. The perfect solution. The passage between an artistic language and the other one has been extremely natural and fluid…After all, I exactly paint as I play, in research and improvisation, also considering the silences, the noise as a sound. I think each framework has its own sound, that changes and evolves as the canvas evolves.




N.:
-Do you agree with the statement that person is able to see in art only that is initially opened (available) for his perception? In other words, can a person who initially isn't predisposed  to the dark sides of existence, to penetrate into monstrous depth and despair that your works exude?


Sergio:
-I believe that my paintings represent not only the dark and heavy world's disharmony , but also happy disharmony of daily lives. I think that each darkness has light inside itself and vice versa…. it's important that we do not limit the nature of this condition through the adjectives "positive" and "negative" .This long prologue because I believe that everyone, even the most distant person from the inspiring spirit of my work, can find something that recognizes, something who knows. Painting of the past has taught us what man is and does, in his majesty and in his desperation without reductions... Just think about masters as Bosch, Bruegel, Van Der Weiden and many others. It's an important key, for me, to not forget their great example and maintain the tradition.




N.:
-Do you consider yourself as a medium or guide, meaning that your brush is controlled by some of  higher power? How the creative process goes generally? And in this connection there is another question: How religious are you?


Sergio:
-No, absolutely, any kind of guide or power of control ... I act quite simply, by channeling all my cultural backgrounds, all my influences and all the conditions of my working time in a direction. A way to find, after an hard working time, a common sense of all this path. This is the subject and the storytelling of the painting .I act instinctively in front of a naked canvas ... starting to paint until I do not recognize an image. The only rule is to follow without repentance the "foetus image" that I perceive in the canvas. No, I'm not religious, but I totally respect the religious aesthetic and its narrative creation. Pictorial themes chained to religion are eternal, therefore it would be impossible for me not exalt them ... and then the ancient churches are magnificent places.




N.:
-How your technical skills are important for you? Do you have an art education?


Sergio:
-Painting technique is essential .... it allows the research, encodes and replaces all the mental inputs needing to complete a work. I had not training, I simply observed and translated what I saw into pictures, according to My aesthetic and technical solutions. Everyday I work on my specific way of painting to improve and speed up the performance of each aspect of my work. I personally believe that art should not be taught in accordance with precise terms and laws ... everyone has to find its way to arrive from there to the essence.




N.:
-I can not but agree with you, but let me clarify the following. You consider that an art should not be taught according to strict requirements and laws. Does it mean, that technical skill, as such, quite lends itself to "self-education" and, in that case, has an infinite variety of manifestations? Of course, it could  be on the condition, that the person, who creates art, longs to be completely absorbed by it and consequently, achieve the absolute, doesn`t he?


Sergio:
-I believe that there is an own, unique and unrepeatable technique, that every true artist must employ all his life to find it. If he uses the rules that others give to you(to find out the meaning of what you are looking for)what you'll find it will never be totally YOUR language. I don't deny, obviously, that is important to study the techniques of painting by a teacher, the world of Art moves in this way from...ever! But...I think, if you want to do a much deeper research than the realization of an image, out from the concept of painting in general, you must be more daring, ... searching through errors the ideal techniques to know your path. This path is a secret road in an imaginary forest for every artist....I think that it's important to use own legs to walk throughout this forest! In this sense the artist has to sacrifice himself completely to research and perhaps one day, or perhaps never, will appear the real absolute. Its own absolute!




N.:
-May be, it will be a strange question, but I can't not ask. Do you think that art is aging along with the world in his wisdom and anger? The more the world becomes older, the more sophisticated, the more cruel and disgusting becomes its art, as if it tries to dig a little deeper this old grave. What do you think about it?


Sergio:
-I partly agree ... art, for me, is now turning on itself, reinventing styles and solutions shuffled and fed to an audience that has no desire to meditate.This total digitization (first photograph) has castrated a slow and often full of failures working path, but that led to identify with the work done. Nowadays it takes a few minutes to finish an artwork and to self-consider, therefore, an artist ... .I believe we need to go back and just consider art what is not fruitless entertainment, but growth for our society. I think is useless to propose, endlessly, Wharol or to imitate Marina Abhramovic .... we risk not to give air anymore to "knowledge's bellows".In 500 years we will still speak about Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and other artists like them, there's no doubt. That is Art in "her" fiscal immortality.




N.:
-Your pictures bring me back to my childhood. When my heart was very innocent, and was able to absorb all new. Once again, I feel a new feeling, which is not a pleasant now. It reminds me of death. It declares my death and the death of all that what can be important for a person. How it would be fair to say that in your works death is embodied,which is the crown of life? I mean death as an absolute concentration or sorrow, not necessarily the destruction.


Sergio:
-It's interesting what you say .... I thank you. Death, indeed, it is a necessary aspect to the life and, in a sense, the child is more closer to it than meets the eye. I mean that the relationship of the infancy with the death is much more natural and communicative ... adults transmit the fear. To inoculate the baby's head that death is pain and sadness. In effects the death's feeling is the reason that drives us to live and to research and improve every day more ... is the concept of the end of something that gives us the urge to start a route. Anyway, nothing is really lost, nothing dies ... it's just transformation of the elements ... as we transform ourselves in life, we are transformed by the death .My characters always have the deadly aura to their sides, but, despite that, they seek their inadequate and unattainable happiness. Just like us.




N.:
-So, let's wander off the point. What is a society for you? Do you accept it, which it is, or do you strive to convey to individuals the ideas that would later become the key to liberation or punishment for them? How are you sensitive to criticism, when someone with an important expression allegedly tries to analyze in detail the work of art, trying to classify and give supposedly intelligible explanation to details?


Sergio:
-Art has been sense of reality, of society and individual forever. It's therefore a fact that I also use my medium to narrate what I see. Society is an hard concept…..difficult to be considered as real. It's also difficult to realize to be a part of it.I accept the idea of sharing among men in full agreement and compliance, but I deny the idea of what the society has become nowadays. We not only see the loss of respect for human lives but also the deceptions and violences that our own power's representatives continue to perpetrate, lying, covering up, manipulating with half-truths and denying the evidences.I think it is important, for every living being, to rationally think and to encode the path that society is forcing us to follow. If we want to learn how to understand and unmask, where necessary, the system and the "accommodation company", we have to inquire, to study and to doubt. As a painter I merge my way of thinking in my paintings and inevitably, I tie them to my critical and analyzer being.




N.:
-In any case, we are still human. And just like everyone  share human needs, and we live in this uncertainty, in his eternal quest for reality, and I am not afraid of the word - comfort. Sometimes the price is extremely high and we have completely exhausted, when suddenly there comes a quiet moment of intense tranquility, which is a break before continuing the path. In this case, clearly felt the oppressive burden of inner demon, who strongly wants to break out and appear here - in this human world, for giving place for the new evil demon gnawing heart. This madness and chaos, that possibly occasionally and briefly can give a breathing space to start their new, more severe test. How do you manage not to lose self-control in this mad dance of existence? Is there some kind of activity, which, by the way, can not touch the metaphysical spheres, and is a kind of bulwark for the repose of the artist?


Sergio:
-Those who work with their own art "round the clock" know that it's impossible to find a sort of rest or real calm. This is the concept of the Ouroboros, the snake biting its own tail ... doing art is heaven and hell at the same time .I have sacrificed my life to painting, it gives me the strength to live and to never lose control, but only because it is the same strength that eats me up inside every minute of every day. There are so many things that can give a sort of relief to those who live by and with the paintings, but none of these will ever compare. Painting is my life and my life is painting.
Until death.


                                                              
                                                              Aesthetics of Devastation / Sergio Padovani. (30.12.2014)


Our interview with the Belarusian artist A.R.Ch.
N.:
-Through your paintings I set staring at the world as it is. It is absolutely real and adequate for all of these characters. The sacrifice anguish, better say the shadow of it, seemed to me to have been nothing but just a mask, which the sacrifice has to wear to keep the scene entourage. I would call it…an absolute inner harmony?

  
A.R.Ch:
-The absolute inner harmony… A human has tendency to strive for harmony even if he doesn’t recognize it himself. Probably work with canvas is unconscious desire to harmonize the world, to get it equaled, having made everything as it has to be. As for me, creating process has an incredible therapeutic effect, you know, like medicine for a patient, maybe this’s rude but it is true.




N.:
-If we don’t stick up to the visual question side… In your art you’re killing (or perhaps trying to kill) the same character? Who is it? How would you describe him?


A.R.Ch:
-There is only one character in my art as in self-portrait - that is my soul if you want to know. This is constant interrelationship elucidation in the context of “my soul and me”. And as you have already noticed, “killing or trying to kill” as a ritual action is nothing more but prolonged agonizing self-murder. I don’t know how the situation will work out, but take my hands and will go crazy.




N.:
-In spite of the general scene content, by no means you show death in all her picture of fatality and grief, the usual mourning is behind the canvas frames.  A schoolgirl that has been run over a train, is just a body now which has not got any lives inside anymore. I think this has connection with your
mortuary work experience, doesn’t it? Hence how do you estimate the fact of death? What about his sacral or plate power?


A.R.Ch:
-If we are talking about death it is always sympathy and horror. What is going to be next? Nobody knows in general. There are some conjectures and  hypothesis. As for the mortuary work, well, there’s, of course, some professional deformation. If someone is run over by a train before my eyes, I don’t think I would feel anything… it’s just someone’s life is gone, pure and simple, even so as I’ve already said “sympathy and horror”…




N.:
-Have you ever had any desires to simplify/ease the narration? To make it more comprehensible (usual), that would let the thought to be got by the big audience?


A.R.Ch:
-No, I haven’t. That’s because I don’t have such a thought. I’m not a follower the theory that a thought or some intention, has to provoke art to exist. As I suppose art has a different nature: it has connections with the inner inscrutable space, which for its turn, is connected with the external space that is much more inscrutable. Also I’m not a follower the idea that art has to do something like “has to learn”, “has to bring up”, “has to aim and call”. Art owes nothing to anyone. I perceive art as the greatest and good-for-nothing substance simultaneously. Most likely it’s been made up in an artificial way like religion for instance.  But… it’s just happened so that I serve this substance faithfully and vice versa. Going not so much deeper, I will say:  at the moments of canvas or prose working, I don’t think about what I’m writing or what I want to get at the end. I just dissolve into the process and stop being myself but a part of something global. But usually creation process separated into phases which are under the certain state, nevertheless it will take us a lot of time to speak about it…let’s pass it. And even less I’m not completely interested in what kind of reaction a spectator could give. The only spectator of mine for whom I work is me.




N.:
-From the very beginning the lack of art education helped you grope your path didn’t it? From your point of view how much important are professional skills?


A.R.Ch:
-There is time for everything. I think that I started to learn the academic painting in right time when I was about 26. Besides I created myself as a painter and got the new way of self-expression and if I can say, theme.  But the academic skills gave me a lot, for sure. Working with oil paints, with painting from life, relative reality, I’ve been always in great need of all them to expose myself to the full extent.




N.:
-Do you agree with the statement that art can result in both ascension and death? If it’s true then is a creator protected from his own thoughts and works in a proper way? As a result I think to be honest there is a great possibility to become an executioner sacrifice inside yourself…


A.R.Ch:
-Then the executioner is certainly some slut. There’s no way to escape from him. But art helps me to get on with him more or less.  I daily make a sacrifice in some way in the form of these killings in the pictures. It is complicated as you see… you suffer, fight. Art cannot kill because art is a creator itself, a constructer directly and it unceremoniously can do away with itself.




N.:
-It’s impossible to separate your musical project from paintings, they’re like a picture continuation, its breathing.  Is this energetic splash the same with canvas works?


A.R.Ch:
-For me music is, to make myself certain, the music creation process is above all a rest. Creating music I don’t feel Muse’s hands embracing me, I feel comfortable having a rest and the result makes me happy.    Neither more nor less. But there was an exception - “Woodland belt” or “Andrew-power” album of my own project “The black sun A.R.Ch.”, it has different names in different publications. That time I really felt soul movements and understood that I was making a masterpiece. Unfortunately it didn’t happen again.




N.:
-We live with the society where the conservative trend has big influence. How much demand and reaction to art forms like yours do people have?


A.R.Ch:
-Shall we put it that my art is not very popular and theoretically unable to be otherwise. I often face complete misunderstanding of what I create and the same things are about delight. The extremities happen to be.  But I cannot say that I observe indifference. To my mind it’s a good sign.




N.:
-You assert that any art deserves to exist. I’m not going to estimate your statement but I will ask you seem to put excessive amounts of trust into that person, aren’t you?  You know the burden will be heavy after having seen/read…


A.R.Ch:
-A person is his own master and he is stronger than he thinks. You can schematically separate people into “receiver” and “translators”. Therefore, “translators” are most of all creators, and “receivers” are art consumers. In addition, to be honest “a receiver” is incapable of perceiving all the burden depth. That is why we cannot speak about translator’s responsibility for the burden, but we only can speak about impressionability extent of some receiver.  Art in pure form can be nor harmful neither useful. In general it’s non-functional for receivers.  So we’ve came back to the space again, and art in everyday life isn’t the area in a human being where one needs to allow or forbidden anything. This area must be armed with freedom like no other. I’m very fastidious art consumer and it’s difficult to please me and sometimes after having visited some exhibitions I want to take a fuel can and set these exhibition halls on fire. But… I will never do it - everybody is different.




N.:
-And the last one… how would you describe your inner state for today?


A.R.Ch:
-I’m deeply depressed. I’m alone and unhappy. I’m deficient in love as the breath of my nostrils. There’s nothing in the world that could help me.
Sincerely yours, A.R.Ch.


                                                              
                                                                          Aesthetics of Devastation / A.R.Ch. (24.01.2016)


Here you can see more paintings by A.R.Ch.
Here you can see more paintings by Sergio Padovani
Our interview with the artist Vergvoktre
Here you can see more paintings by Vergvoktre
N.:
-The world that you have depicted, pressures and charms. It’s monumental and unsteady simultaneously. The materials and palette do emphasize the effect. It’s strange but I never lose the sense of dark nostalgia and at the same time I would take a risk to call them anti-utopian. What can you say about it?

  
Vergvoktre:
-Anti-utopia and Utopia are two polarities. It’s a golden mean (to my mind).




N.:
-You make the viewer focus on the way and to put it honest, this way is not the easiest one. Tell us more about the human shells, which you have represented. Where do they come from? What place do they want to get in? Do they look for their lost God to escape from the tormenting solitude?


Vergvoktre:
-All of these are unconscious and meaningless seeks. It’s like you are seeking for where to go to but initially you’ve been there already. And you will never understand it starting your seeks again and again indefinitely. I wouldn't say that this solitude is tormenting but vice versa it’s an integral part that can be comparable with the air. It’s usual state, which everyone is supposed to find. It’s a home. The solitude is a true home.




N.:
-Do you think it’s necessary to give to viewers obvious or maybe indirect hints at the deeper levels of composition comprehension or it’s enough to have statement of thought and experience results?


Vergvoktre:
-It depends on the audience. Everyone has his own different image and symbol comprehension levels. I wouldn't like to impose my ideas on people. I prefer to fix wing side spectator’s mind in a certain vein. Then he will be able to handle it on his own. This is much better than to rub people’s nose in my views and ideas. However, fortunately or unfortunately I must say it goes with varying success.




N.:
-To put it succinctly but capaciously… what is the environment reality (our world)?


Vergvoktre:
-To put it succinctly and capaciously I would say that our world is like filth - only one step in and you get fucked up cleaning it.




N.:
-I wonder to hear your meaning about is a human a pinnacle of evolution?


Vergvoktre:
-It depends on whom this pinnacle belongs to. If we speak about work of nature then it is no. if it’s about insanity then - yes. I feel that people flatter themselves thinking that a human is the height of all living creatures. In my opinion, a human is a common macaque, which has features that slightly differ it from the animal world but at the same time they are the same. If to see myself clearly as I am then our world is nothing more but a failed experiment. Intelligence, society and culture were adaptation and survival tools. Lion has fangs, horse has strong legs, cactus has thorns, human has intelligence and society. In addition, you know something has gone wrong about people. The things, that had to be survival, now just favour the putrefaction (I’m not speaking about ethical and cultural deviations but about morality and culture what everyone likes beating his head about). All of those didn’t need a lot of time to have happened. On the other hand, yes, we have fucked this planet, got the upper link in food chain. So here we are - the panicle of evolution, we can flatter ourselves. there's a very interesting picture of the Earth taken by Voyager 1from the several milliards km in 70th. The Earth is like a hardly seen blue point in the space. And “the pinnacle of evolution” dwells exactly on it. You can imagine the it sounds like a mouse squeak : “we are here, on the Earth, we can do here whatever we want, we are the best, the most educated, yeah, all the universe sucks off”. There is nothing special in human nature.




N.:
-You are speaking about a very short term of morality decay and everything that makes human be a human. Tell us please about where do you find this historical furcation, the place where something wrong has started its journey? Do you think people should wait for a new general Renaissance? If your answer is yes then tell us about preconditions?


Vergvoktre:
-There’s an opinion that people can reach the summit of the existence that cannot be overreached again. The picture describes not only morality but how it and modern humanism start their destructive influence. Nowadays we have a decline in the total number of births, absolute maladjustment to a life without technical equipment, but man-caused system isn’t stable by definition. Also for the last century, we have been observing the increase of different diseases that some time ago weren’t so much active. In general, humanism and humaneness definitions seem to me hypocritical. Even altruism is a selfish satisfaction of somebody’s own psychological (biological) needs. The things we usually call dark beginning or evil, are nothing more but an animal part created by nature and no matter others say but you shouldn’t deny, hate, pretend that nothing exists. As a matter of fact there’s nothing wrong about it. Being based on generally accepted priority you can face that religious feelings, morality, ethics are just the evil. And this is not bad, either, because it shows us there is no any parts for white and for black.

I see only powerful jerk to transhumanism or degradation to macaque standards and there’s no door number three.




N.:
-Religion… As we are told by all the history, religion is one of the brooks to war, that’s a permanent society state. Do the cultural values and scientific knowledge humanize personality and society or cultivate repressions and persecutions on the contrary?


Vergvoktre:
-There was a question about a human in a way of “the pinnacle of evolution”, I have written about morality, culture, society, and here science and religion can be placed, too. These are development regulators and population prosperity. They establish what religion, society and science can turn into; we can find many examples over the history. In itself these are neutral and inert. An ideologist starts a trend.




N.:
-Can all these aspects be sent out of human being shell? I mean, can they be neutral and plain being completely society result?


Vergvoktre:
-To send them out of human shell…no, I don’t think so, but if it’s like basic mechanisms and schemes - then why not? In comparison to computer programme: result depends on the data you have put into. Here we will get the colours…no matter they are almost the same.




N.:
-In his time Nicholas Roerich tried so to get his thought over to the humanity that science, art and religion cannot be separated, only keeping  these three bases together, we have a chance not to be buried in chaos and darkness. What do you think about it?


Vergvoktre:
-I almost agree with him. A half. As I suppose science and religion are a little bit in different planes. I wouldn’t say that science and art inseparable but I would equate them with each other. Science is great art, demanding of intuition and creative way of thinking. Just to have logic is not enough.
The second part of statement is controversial for me. A simple example got we here: Third Reich. Science, (totalitarian) Art, Religion (attempts to accept it) - all of these existed. I wonder what did Roerich think about it having had a look at that?




N.:
-On the spot! What do you think a person needs to start creating? What exactly makes a person create, external circumstances or internal passion?


Vergvoktre:
-Due to what a person “creates” we have enough.




N.:
-What made you an artist?


Vergvoktre:
-I can’t find any special reason for that, just unavoidable concatenation of circumstances.




N.:
-Do you consider your art is underground and marginal in some way? What things can let art be described in such a way? What’s more important creator estimate or viewer opinion?


Vergvoktre:
-Yeah, you can call it underground and there are reasons for that:
1.I’ve got my own meaning about the world and the society in particularly (it’d be named as ideology) that I sometimes try to realise through my works (but not through all of them).
2.The second reason flows out of the first one. There is popular art having its own audience, development ways, stereotypes that serve special world outlook and sociocultural people views. My ideas get out of universally recognized conception. I try to set them at paper and the result, as you may know, leaves the standard ideas about art. I can use artist experiences that belong to followers of massive art and I do.  But nevertheless these are just tools, the result usually can’t be called “popular”
3.The third reason flows out of the second one. The mainstream aim is for the broad masses; people devour everything and beg for adding. Popular art always has a big audience; underground one has a small group of sympathizers. That’s what we can observe now.
I will be sent out of underground if I start creating, for example, some everyday things, kittens, elf-girls dressed in armour bra, holding two-metres long broadsword, spaceships and other fun things and so on. You wouldn’t be able to call it underground.
If to talk about marginality, my answer is yes, as a rule marginal art is underground and you can take one of the criterions that I’ve been already describing.




N.:
-Every day we interact with the society and the environment and one way or another it can be called as a compromise. Is art exclusion? Is there enough place for “pure” creator’s idea?


Vergvoktre:
-I’m not far away from determinism. Every idea is based on knowledge about our environment. It’s a cornerstone. Any idea in a varying degree can be named a reality transformation. Consciousness is supposed to be a brain function and it makes transformation. The brain obeys the biological laws; the chemical ones are the base for biology etc. I mean that the idea can be brought to the chemistry as a result of substance interactions in an organism. Of course, it’s settled in a rude way because there are a lot of reefs but it doesn’t change the essence. A creator is always a form of material substance and his thoughts are just a result. We don’t see a creator but his silhouette because he doesn’t belong even to himself. He’s just a part, another nature turn, keeping on carrying out his duties and having no freedom.




N.:
-Summing up, the decay is based in the depth of our dwelling initially and historical spiral is making one more convolution towards the decay, isn’t it?


Vergvoktre:
-You cannot put it more precisely. It’s inevitability and necessity.




N.:
-Where is human consolation hidden?


Vergvoktre:
-Why do you want to prevent a person from getting a living kick in the pants, letting start doing something. Let him be disconsolate.




                                                              
                                                                      Aesthetics of Devastation / Vergvoktre (03.03.2016)


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