Italian symbolist painter creating fantastical surrealist pieces of art

Interview: Ljubov Dzuzhynska

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What’s it like to be you?
It’s comparable to a state of Hamletic inadequacy, a desired isolation, an inevitable choice in the face of a fiasco, human failure in a time of pure relativism. Perhaps hedonism or the return of a decadent living on the brink of a gate where the real world and the world of hyperuranion can touch each other. Or, as the poet Giacomo Leopardi would say, “the greatest pleasure in life is the vain enjoyment of illusions.

Every person has a void deep inside, how would you describe yours?
The void that I can perceive may be identified with urgency, or with an unquenched thirst, which, in recent years, has become more and more urgent in me. The desire to be able to reduce my time and reach the essence that I perceive as a veil between me and a mystery that is becoming more and more necessary.

The only solution I possess is to alleviate this anxiety of indecision through painting and my work, which I consider to be slow cartographic work done by a blind person who seeks to determine the path that will potentially bring him closer to the eternal.

For you, ‘death, from the start, became synonymous with questions without answers and for a long time death became identified with a voyage without destination, a search towards the unknown.’ What question would you like to know the answer to?
I was never afraid of death, taboos were never inflicted on me, and from childhood, I learned to live with the reality of death. Even today it is plenty for me to perceive it solely as a process of inevitable mutations that mark a becoming, with consequences throughout reality – from infinitesimal to the most microcosmic. I think that in addition to this inevitable and restless becoming, a transmutation of consciousness can occur.

In addition to the transformation of matter, consciousness, which is fragmented into different lives and which at times is recreated, and then dismembers itself, dissolving in other existences – in all this becoming there is a unity between matter and consciousness, which puts an end to the linearity of time.

Sometimes art seems to be the only answer that can stop this process. It is like a clash in time, like a spear piercing its temporality. It is the only consolation in its inexhaustible and constant consumption.

What do you think really matters at the end of life?
To give meaning to my short life with my testimony of myself as an artist. Art must regain this value again, which will bring us closer to being like archers who are in constant tension from the bowstring of their bow. They aim at a single trajectory perspective. Goals are a mystery, they are eternity, they are divinity.

What revelation was the most liberating for you?
I must be grateful for the teachings that artists before me have been able to create, and guide me in this direction, such as Dante Alighieri, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Ezra Pound, and Leonardo da Vinci.

How would you describe the worlds you create in your paintings?
Paths of despair, pilgrimages to hell, stairs leading me to heaven, endless fluctuations between the extremes, a mind blast of bliss and damnation.

Is your work reflective of your personal thoughts or is it simply an outcome of your imagination?
I could compare it to the question-and-answer dialogue manifested in the images.

What have you learned about yourself through your art?
I have learned to follow a strict discipline of strong detachment and indifference to follow the time when our civilization inevitably does not coincide with my personal slowness.

 The creation of a work of art is marked by very slow processes that are not always visible and are tangible. They are not always limited to the practical gestures of drawing, the process also extends to thoughts, silence, reading, studying, emotions and pain, drama and the joy that take over life. Life and art are united in a perfect symbiosis.

What is the beauty of art for you?

Beauty can only be obtained by achieving a complex balance – if it comes from the process of pain, which provides inner purification and brings beauty to the heights of brilliance. And finally, the separation of art from God is a lie, because the human heart desires beauty in the same way as does it desire God.

What was the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen or experienced in your life?
The summer of 2018, Rome: a fragment of ecstasy and strong emotions, awareness of one’s human limitations and one’s misfortunes caused by the contemplation of the great fresco of the Last Judgment by Michelangelo Buonarroti in the Sistine Chapel.

Do you think the mind works best under a certain amount of pain and suffering? Why?

Because it is in pain that the gift of truth befalls on us, like a dividing blade that tears us apart and leads to the fact that we begin to live in truth.

What is fucked about the world of today?

I would say – almost everything…

What is one thing that you would want to wipe out from existence?
A rotten and corrupt system that fuels art and the bewildering speculation of ridicule and grotesque.

There are authors that ‘have accompanied you over time by nurturing you with their teachings, their lives, their imagination, and the strength of their poetry.’ Is there a particular fictional reality you would like to live in and why? Be it a book, film etc.
Various personalities from different directions have taught, trained, accompanied, and consoled me. They were the crucial companions of my destiny: Leonardo da Vinci, who since childhood was my teacher, the great masters of Flemish primitive painting, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Oscar Wilde, Rainer Maria Rilke, Homeric epics and Dante Alighieri come to mind. If I chose an imaginary life, I would choose time travel, I would have lived in ancient Greece at the time of Pericles or in the most ancient era of Greece, during the entire process of its Athenian revival. I would like to feel for myself all the magic of that period. Florence in 1500 witnessed the real Raphael Santi, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti. And then I would like to live in Victorian England, surrounded by the capital of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood [ed. note: a direction in English poetry and art of the second half of the XIX century].

Does the ordinary and routine bore you? Why?
Routine does not tire me.

Did you reach your personal definition of happiness? What does happiness consist of for you?

In the freedom to choose the best that you can have at every moment of your life, solely for your own good, which, subsequently, can be reflected on those you love.

Was there ever a moment in your life when you were fed up with art?
I am fed up with the routines and temporal rhythms that the art-related market system has labeled as collection stages, for example, in absolute terms through art fairs, which I consider to be the single useless and almost forced thing that has destroyed the authenticity of the artistic process. I have always thought of art fairs as ghettos, where merchants offer art as a commodity created purely for profit. Ezra Pound‘s poem about “usury” confirms the burning truths that they proclaim.

If not art what would you do?
I would become an anchorite and a botanist on a deserted island.

What makes you feel truly alive currently?
Love for painting and drawing. My life is marked by solitude, isolation and contemplation.

What was the wisest thing you’ve ever heard?
Páthei Máthos [ed. note: “learning through suffering”], a famous quote mentioned in Aeschylus’s Agamemnon when the choir sings the famous Hymn to Zeus.

What question would you like to be asked in an interview and what would you answer?
Q: What is the use of the interview for you?
A: Finally become a witness of truth, beauty and grace.

Translation: Elena Savlokhova