Interview: Ivan Stanev
Luca Curci talks with Ivan Stanev during RITUALS and CONSCIOUSNESS, first and second appointments of ANIMA MUNDI 2022, at Palazzo Bembo – Venice Grand Canal and Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
Ivan Stanev (born 29 June 1959) is an author, theatre and film director, scenographer, and new media artist, who has been living in Berlin since 1988, and more recently in Paris. He was born in the city of Varna, Bulgaria. He enrolled in a German-language high school, while also studying intensively French, Russian, and English. He got his degree in Theatre Directing from the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts in Sofia. While a student in the academy, he founded a clandestine avant-garde theatre group, which led to severe conflicts with censorship in Communist Bulgaria. Not allowed to work as a theatre director anymore, he went on to study philosophy at the Sofia University and started to translate the works of Theodor Adorno and Heiner Muller, in the meantime, writing plays, poems, and essays, all to be published much later. In 1988, he was invited to present his theatre production called The Wound Woyzeck at a theatre festival in West Berlin. He decided not to return to Bulgaria and to live in exile instead. He began to write in German and stage his own plays in Berlin. Since 1999, he has also worked on several major Franco-German theatre productions. Due to his growing interest in visual arts, he directed and produced two experimental films: Villa Dei Misteri and Luxor Las Vegas. In 2009 he finished his first independent feature film, shot on 35 mm, called Moon Lake. He currently lives in Berlin and Paris and works in both Germany and France.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Ivan Stanev – I repeat after William Blake: “ART is the Tree of LIFE. SCIENCE is the Tree of DEATH.” I incant Blake’s words: “Where any view of Money exists Art cannot be carried on, but War only.” I write down Blake’s sentence, again and again: “Prayer is the Study of Art. Praise is the Practise of Art.”
LC – What are you currently working on?
IS – I work simultaneously on many art projects. Among them are a portrait gallery called “TOTLEBEN HEIRS”, a video art series called “GOT- Garden of Totleben, and an art film about Contessa di Castiglione called “ PLACE FANTÔME”
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
IS – I never have a concept, plan, goal, or direct message. Nevertheless, there are some immanent rules: 1. Do not try to solve the Enigma of Existence, 2. Do not modify it. The Enigma is not a secret cipher device but the Quintessence of the Soul. 3. Vivisection is strictly forbidden. A concept is a cutting tool, like a scalpel. The message is the poison of General Anesthesia. 4. Disenchanted aesthetics for sale or global anesthesia? Or a mysterious Being, sublime, otherworldly? 5. The invisible image. The Janus-faced Imago: a. An insect in its sexually mature adult stage after metamorphosis. And b. Psychology An often idealized image of a person, usually a parent, is formed in childhood and persisting unconsciously into adulthood.
LC – How is your creative process? How do you choose your subjects?
IS – I try to find a metaphysical fulcrum in space-time. For the subject, I wait for a sudden revelation without hope.
LC – Has the artwork presented been created for the exhibition or is it part of preexisting works?
IS – MANTIS RELIGIOSA is a part of the beginning of serial work.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
IS – Yes, of course. It was a great honor for me to be part of your project. I think an open-minded art structure/organization like yours is already a great achievement.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the exhibition?
IS – Yes, I agree with your vision, themes like RITUALS or CONSCIOUSNESS are very important for contemporary art practice.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
IS – Architecture, Nature, Art, Spirituality.