Many artists think that winning an art competition means a recognition of the artist’s talent, but it is mainly the result of long and painstaking work. Victory is impossible without well-prepared materials such as: CV, artist’s statement, portfolio, and others, but we usually don’t consider the role of social networks, and how they significantly affect the jury’s choice.

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Today, social networks are an integral part of most people's lives. In art — especially when it's institutionalized — no matter how strange it may seem at first glance, social networks play an important role. Most art organizations exist on public or private grants, so they have to regularly prove to functionaries and sponsors their usefulness to society (as well as intimidate them with public support). …

I talk to the museum “Artkommunalka. Erofeev and others” after participating in the Artkommunalka Artist-in-Residence Program from 18th of January to 15th of March 2020 about Russia, France, liberalism, project in Kolomna and the mission of art.

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Photo: Alexander Uvarov

— Tell us more about your project.

— The project is called “Me. Human: World”. I have a series of portraits “Me. Human” and the word “world” is added here because I want to make a collection of identical real life landscape portraits in different parts of the world. And this time it would be diptych, i.e. combining two larger pictures. I chose diptych because my work is pictorial art, and is 50% digital art, which is a mixture of digital technologies and painting. I begin with 360-degree digital photography, then from two angles of the same landscape the diptych comes from the camera angles. …

There are more than 1,150 private art galleries in Paris*. Perhaps it is impossible to visit everyone of them, especially when you have only 4 days left, and yet I managed to visit 93 galleries. This is an intense and exciting journey that I called an “art marathon”. The idea came to me while walking through Paris in May time. I went inside the galleries that I met on my way, talked to their inhabitants and absorbed the modern art, until I realized that I wanted to see and feel as much as possible. Then I set myself the goal — to visit as many art galleries as possible in those few days that I had in stock, preparing myself for the opening of the exhibition of my works in France. My “art-marathon” is over, and now I want to share with you my impressions, some insider information and stories of gallery players, many of whom I was lucky enough to communicate in person.
Most of the galleries in Paris are located in three central districts: the Beaubourg or around the centre of Pompidou; in the odious square Place de Vosges and in the streets of Saint-Germain-des-Pres. …

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F.L.: Hello! Please, introduce yourself.

YOD: Hello! I am an artist YOD.

F.L.: YOD is an alias right?

YOD: The artist is always an alias or, one might say, a kind of a prototype of the individual, even if he works under his real name.

F.L.: Where are you from?

YOD: I live between France and Russia. More often in Russia, in Saint Petersburg, in the last couple of years. Pretty good climate…

F.L.: How did you begin? How or why did you decide to dedicate your life to the art?

YOD: I began in children’s art school, that’s where my mom took me. And of course I did not finish it, after all, such institutions are not made for children at all. But still, a couple of years later I realized that I am an artist. This is a very interesting inner experience, as I see it, it’s comparable to the feeling of realization of your own sexual identity. Enrolled in secondary art school. Then there was this Art Institute in St. Petersburg, and a few years later the second one in France. I have never planned to twist fortune with the art. It was the art that absorbed me. As a child, I thought it was pretty handy to be able to draw and use this advantage to get good school grades. Any kind of work with a beautiful cover instantly stuck out of the crowd, and despite the skimpy content, teachers would never raise a hand to criticize it. I just had no other choice as an adult. In my case, art is simply an acute dopamine dependence. Its absence drives me to depression which already begins to develop during the second week. …

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Photo: Chait Goli

Visual artists do not come from a life which is a bed of roses. The ability to visualize the world in a certain point of view, ability to think critically, in direct ratio to social stereotype thinking and visual delicacy, are not the only premises that form a visual artist but also a reason of unavoidable social isolation. …

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In my 33rd year, at the age of Christ, I faced depression for the first time in my life. I had no opportunity to do art at the time. The constant repetitions of actions necessary to manage the hygiene of my own life and the life of my family became my reality. I had nothing to strive for. Thoughts of the eternal dullness of the world around me appeared in my head over and over. I began to suspect that suicide might not be the worst option for a bored person. …

Over the past 17 years, contemporary art prices have grown by 1,400%. What is it if not evidence of increased public attention to art? However, it seems that the galleries are still empty, and the excited crowds are in no rush to reach for the beautiful. Could it possibly mean that art is the subject of concern for the artists themselves, as well as for a very limited number of gallery owners, art critics, collectors, and businessmen (who so far show the greatest enthusiasm in purchasing art)?

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‘Untitled’ by the artist Yue Minjun, 2001

The artists whom I am personally acquainted with often complain that no one cares about art today. But in fact, it has always been that way. The value of art for humanity is hugely exaggerated. The illusion of demand for works of art from past eras today is created by a stirred up commercial interest. The pieces of classical masters of art are a profitable product now, and the fewer of them left, the higher the price. The laws of economics rather than those of love of beauty play a key role in here. In the same way, wealthy people develop the demand for truffles. It is not about their marvelous taste, but rather the rareness of occurring in nature, and the inherent desire of a person to possess them inversely proportional to their level of rareness.4 …

Modern man commonly associates a brand with some fashionable perfume or at least a fancy bag and definitely not with the profession of an artist. To the majority of those not engaged in any artistic practices, an artist appears to be a person who is able to deliver the image of a beautiful world around us in a visually echoing manner. Fascinated with contemporary art, people scan any artist for a story of a rebellious soldier who is capable of loud manifestations. Nevertheless, a successful artist today is a successful brand in the first and foremost place.

The postmodern era of the second half of the 20th century was marked by a complete paradigm shift in traditional society. Since that global change, the world has no longer been considered as a beautiful place filled with the divine wisdom of its creation, as it had been in the modern era. Even if it happens to be so, nobody cares anymore. Because at the core of everything in the postmodern era is a man and his unique personality. Having the communism, nihilism and other isms of the 19th — 20th centuries in the background, we turned back to Christianity and its image of an individual just to reconsider it and find out that we hate its former interpretations even more. Now a postmodern era artist has to prove his uniqueness to the world by performing some unparalleled artistic act. I recall the story of the Italian artist Piero Manzoni, who was the first one in the art scene to exhibit his faeces as an art object. By this and some other exclusive performances, he transferred himself from being an ordinary person to becoming a contemporary artist. …


Ilya Yod

An artist presenting his paintings at the Moscow Center of Modern Art exhibition in 2010. Visit his website

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