Interviews | November 19, 2022 |

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Image courtesy of Dr Natalia Jezova

Interview Dr Natalia Jezova
Luca Curci talks with Dr Natalia Jezova during the 11th Edition of CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2022, at Palazzo Bembo.

Dr Natalia Jezova is an award-wining, multidisciplinary artist. She achieved her Professional Doctorate in Fine Art at the University of East London in 2021.  Natalia communicates through various media, including photography, film and installation. Her art, which has been exhibited internationally, addresses cultural memory, identity and gender issues. Natalia’s work has been placed in numerous private collections internationally. The main theme explored in her work is the ephemeral nature of things and how the mediation of various objects may carry and evoke different meanings, testimonies and memories for the spectator. Her natural curiosity, interest and knowledge of art history, coupled with the use of certain objects from Natalia’s private collection of antique costumes, accessories and armour, have served as an inspiration in the development of her ideas. Natalia became sight impaired a few years ago and she sees everything with a double vision effect. This was one of the reasons why she started to use the superimposition technique (in which two images are simultaneously visible over each other) in her art practice. The layering of images on top of each other creates a new meaning and makes an impression on an almost subliminal level. Natalia particularly admires Old Master paintings. She is fascinated by their unsurpassed technical qualities, their mysterious representation of dramatic light and their masterful use of composition. However, she appreciates not only their technical skill but also their incredible ability to convey to a viewer the subtext of the picture hidden behind the symbolic meanings of colours and details. After all, many Renaissance masterpieces, with their unique placement of objects and use of distinctive colour palettes, are coded ‘books’ filled with secrets and hints. You just need to know the cyphers for these codes to understand what their author wanted to convey. Natalia’s work is never quite what first appears to be. Her images depict meticulously controlled compositions characterised by a classical aesthetic, tinged with poetic undertones of timeless desire and romance. She mixes classical and modern aspects and her artworks are multi-layered, containing their own little secrets that viewers are invited to discover. As Natalia says: “What could be more enchanting than a mystery? I suppose, only the love for the mystery and the quest which one embarks on in trying to solve it.”

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Image courtesy of Dr Natalia Jezova

Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Natalia Jezova –
Ars Lónga, Vita Brévis, – Art is Long, Life is Short
Art does not satisfy hunger or keep you warm in the cold. It acts on a subconscious level. For me, art was, is and always will be a magical gateway to the mysteries of the universe. According to Aristotle, art is able to create something that did not and could not exist in any other form. It does not just represent life, it generates it. At first, art appears as a reflection of the real phenomenon in a work of art, and then it can be recognised in life itself. For example, only after William Shakespeare described the charm, torment and tragedy of two young hearts – Romeo and Juliet – did people start to believe in this very kind of love. Similarly, no one noticed the fog in London until Oscar Wilde presented it. From that time, all descriptions of London were shrouded in fog. In my opinion, art should definitely have a constructive (by which I mean positive and creative) nature. At least in a work of art, a viewer should see a glimmer of hope for the future.

LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
NJ –
My artistic path started in my early childhood. For ten years I attended music and art schools. In art school, the curriculum was focused on classical methods of training: sculpture, painting, drawing, composition and art history. My professional career as an artist started around twenty years ago when I had clearly decided that this is a direction that I personally wanted to take. My BA and MA studies have been a fascinating challenge that has inspired me to further explore and develop my artistic work and knowledge. My desire to understand and contextualise my practice further, through combined research and studio practice, led me to undertake a Professional Doctorate. I achieved my Professional Doctorate in Fine Art at the University of East London in 2021. One of the strongest impressions I had it was in my childhood when I saw in museum Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. It is hard to say what amazed me more, the painting itself or the desire of millions of people to see it. It was a starting point, when I ‘fell in love’ with the work of Leonardo da Vinci and other masters of Renaissance painting.

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Image courtesy of Dr Natalia Jezova

LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
NJ –
My inspiration comes in different ways: it could be reflections on art history research, a piece of music or a film; sometimes just clouds in the sky.

LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
NJ –
The situation for artists during the last few years is not the best… There are huge cuts in funding for the arts. Over the past 30 years, the art market has radically transformed – art began to be used as a tool of the financial markets. Nowadays artists must have a business understanding and be aware of the shopping habits of their target market. In my opinion, it’s a sad situation… The ephemeral substance called art has the power to ‘transfer’ you to other dimensions, to inspire and to make you contemplate, disappearing when artists spend their creative abilities on preparing a business plan and analysing financial markets.

LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
NJ –
More than 500 years ago Leonardo da Vinci declared, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” Sometimes, I am totally agreed with his statement. Especially, when I am working on a series every work goes through many ‘finals’ before I consider it completed.

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Image courtesy of Dr Natalia Jezova

LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the exhibition?
NJ –
It’s excellent that ITSLIQUID platform gives an opportunity for artists from around the globe to share their art projects on themes that are very actual nowadays.

LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the exhibition’s theme?
NJ –
In many ways – from metaphorical to visual. The theme of the exhibition was MIXING IDENTITIES. I presented my work Her Majesty. Originally the image was dedicated to the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee and received an Excellence Award in June 2022. For the Her Majesty I mixed an iconic image of Queen Elizabeth II as a Monarch and a respected figure across the globe with an image of her as an ordinary person enjoying life. I am a sight-impaired and see everything with a blurred double vision effect. This was one of the reasons why I started to use the superimposition technique (in which two images are simultaneously visible over each other) in my art practice. The layering of images on top of each other creates a new meaning and makes an impression on an almost subliminal level

LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
NJ –
The ITSLIQUID is a professional platform and a cultural hub for contemporary art, architecture, design and fashion. It’s a perfect place to discover new venues, talents and artworks.

LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
NJ –
Certainly. The professional support can make a big difference in an artist’s career.

LC – Would you suggest collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
NJ –
It was a positive and creative experience. Looking forward to future collaborations.

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Image courtesy of Dr Natalia Jezova
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Image courtesy of Dr Natalia Jezova

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