Interview: Marina Reutova
Luca Curci talks with Marina Reutova during MIXING IDENTITIES 2023, at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space.
“Marina Reutova (b. 1993) is a Russian-born artist currently based in Bali. Her practice is rooted in personal experiences and an ever-evolving approach to femininity, spirituality, and personal growth.
Using her art as a tool of introspection and self-acceptance, Marina creates both universal and deeply personal work, comprising archetypal female figures, her own spiritual experiences, and explicit references to her artistic heroes. Marina celebrates womanhood and the human spirit; she emphasizes the unique nature of the human condition.”
Luca Curci – What is the trigger that leads you to paint?
Marina Reutova – The trigger that leads me to paint is rooted in the ineffable connection between colours and emotions. It has been an inexplicable journey since childhood, as I found drawing and painting irresistibly fascinating. While I cannot provide a definitive answer as to why I am drawn to this art form, I am certain of the immense joy and fulfilment it brings me. For me, art is a pathway of self-exploration, where colours emanate from the depths of my soul, and I sense the very essence of life flowing through me. When I paint the major arcana from the Tarot of Marseille, my heightened sensitivity enables me to perceive and experience a wide spectrum of emotions. Through this creative process, I forge a profound connection with each archetype, embarking on transformative journeys that reveal new facets of my being. As I delve into the series, I uncover hidden aspects of myself through the lens of various life events. Each brushstroke becomes a conduit, bridging the gap between the ethereal realm of spirit and the tangible world of matter. This artistic expression, in its vibrant complexity, mirrors the essence of life itself. In conclusion, I paint because it is synonymous with life to me—a boundless exploration of emotions, colours, and the revelation of my innermost self. It is a journey of self-discovery, where I embrace the unknown and connect deeply with the archetypal symbols, unearthing profound insights into my own existence with each artistic endeavour.
LC – Which artists have somehow had an influence on your work?
MR – Throughout my artistic journey, there have been several remarkable artists who have profoundly influenced my work, acting as cherished mentors in their own unique ways. One such influential figure is Frida Kahlo, whose unwavering bravery has taught me the importance of perseverance and resilience. No matter the emotional state, Kahlo’s example has inspired me to rise above challenges and steadfastly enter the studio to continue my creative pursuits. The expressive and “alive” lines of Egon Schiele have also left an indelible mark on my artistic sensibilities. His ability to infuse his lines with a captivating energy and communicate with the audience through his art has been a valuable lesson for me in connecting with viewers on a deeper level. The golden legacy of Gustav Klimt has left an everlasting impression on my approach to art. Through his masterful use of gold leaf work, Klimt conveyed the idea of immortality in his pieces, a lesson that has shown me the enduring impact art can have on the world. Picasso’s ingenuity has been a guiding light, teaching me the versatility of different mediums. His use of ceramics as a canvas and his ability to paint on them opened my eyes to the boundless possibilities of artistic expression, highlighting that an artist is a multifaceted being.
Exploring the vibrant works of Roy Lichtenstein, I learned about the interplay between bright colours and the use of dots, creating dynamic and engaging compositions. This knowledge has influenced my own use of colours and patterns, enriching my artistic palette. Finally, Rene Magritte’s surreal and imaginative creations have been a source of inspiration, reminding me that the realm of imagination knows no bounds. His ability to translate the most fantastical ideas onto canvases taught me that anything the mind can conceive can become real through art. In conclusion, these visionary artists – Frida Kahlo, Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, and Rene Magritte – have acted as my teachers and guides, shaping my artistic journey. Their invaluable lessons in bravery, expressive lines, the immortality of art, artistic versatility, the interplay of colours, and the boundless nature of imagination have influenced and enriched my work, guiding me as I continue to explore and grow as an artist.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
MR – Yes, my artistic style has indeed evolved and continues to evolve over the years. Like the ever-flowing river of life, my art has undergone transformation and growth, and nothing remains stagnant. It all began with fashion illustration, which served as my initial stepping stone, but deep down, I felt a stirring from the depths of my heart, urging me to explore something more profound and authentic. As I embarked on this artistic journey of self-discovery, I confronted my fear of large-scale canvases and embraced the challenge. This shift allowed me to break free from constraints and open myself up to a more expressive and unrestrained approach to my work. Embracing flowing lines became a central element of my evolving style, replacing the traditional portrayal of angels with roundish shapes, creating a sense of fluidity and movement in my paintings. One pivotal addition to my artistic repertoire has been the incorporation of gold leaf. This precious material not only adds a touch of opulence to my pieces but also symbolizes something deeper.
By gilding parts of the artwork with textured surfaces underneath, I create a visual representation of heels or mountains, reinforcing the idea that life’s journey is a multi-dimensional and textured experience. Furthermore, the inclusion of pearls in my artworks carries significant symbolism. Pearls, formed from a grain of sand within an oyster, signify the shaping influence of our past experiences. This motif serves as a reminder that we are all products of our unique life stories. Just as each baroque pearl is one-of-a-kind, so too are human beings, each bearing their distinctiveness and individuality. As an artist, I am continually evolving, learning, and experimenting with different techniques and elements. My art is a reflection of my inner growth, experiences, and ever-changing perspectives on life. By embracing this constant transformation, I embrace the essence of life’s dynamic nature, allowing my art to flow and evolve in sync with the ever-changing currents of existence.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
MR – Currently, I am pursuing two main series of artworks that hold significant meaning and inspiration for me. The first series is titled “Fool’s Journey,” which is dedicated to the major arcana in the tarot of Marseille. These 22 cards symbolize important life events and spiritual lessons, and through this series, I explore their archetypal symbols and profound meanings. Each card in the major arcana serves as a gateway to self-discovery and personal transformation, offering insights into the intricate journey of the human experience. The second series, called “Woman in Gold,” draws its inspiration from the Flower of Life. This series came to life while I was painting the Magician 1st major arcana. As I progressed in my artistic journey, the Magician represented a pivotal moment of professional transformation, emphasizing the significance of utilizing all available tools with purpose and intention. During this process, I reflected on the impact of the overly strong mother figure in my life, which led me to believe that achieving success required embracing the masculine energy represented by Mars.
However, as I explored the symbolism of femininity more deeply, I discovered a profound revelation within myself. Being born into a woman’s body, I recognized the power of embracing the qualities of flow, understanding, receptivity, and giving, which emanate from a gentle source. This newfound understanding of femininity enabled me to celebrate and honour my womanhood, fostering a deeper love and appreciation for my own body and the life experiences it has granted me. Through the “Woman in Gold” series, I aim to connect not only with myself but also with other women on a deeply meaningful level. These artworks become a conduit for women to recognize their intrinsic worth and uniqueness, just as they are. By portraying the preciousness of each woman’s individuality, I encourage self-love and self-acceptance, fostering a sense of empowerment and unity among all who engage with the series. In summary, my art themes revolve around self-exploration, personal transformation, and the symbolism found in the major arcana of the tarot. Additionally, the “Woman in Gold” series delves into the profound significance of femininity and the Flower of Life, serving as a means to celebrate, connect with, and inspire other women to embrace their true selves and recognize their inherent value. These series are not only a reflection of my artistic expression but also a journey of empowerment and connection that I hope resonates with others.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
MR – In this event, I have chosen five artworks to showcase, including one piece from the “Fool’s Journey” series, specifically “La Papesse” (High Priestess), and four artworks from the “Woman in Gold” series. Each of these artworks holds a profound message and connects to the theme of the entire exhibition, “Mixing Identities.” “La Papesse” from the “Fool’s Journey” series represents a transformative internal journey for me as an artist. While painting her, I undertook a symbolic act of shaving my head in a Buddhist monastery—a task inspired by the High Priestess herself. This act represented shedding the layers of who I thought I was, much like a snake shedding its skin, and allowing a new version of myself to emerge. The message behind “La Papesse” is an encouragement to be one’s true and authentic self. In keeping the book of wisdom blank, I invite the audience to connect with their essence and interpret the artwork in a deeply personal way. The “Woman in Gold” series, comprising the other four artworks, conveys a powerful message of self-worth and embracing one’s unique identity. Amidst the complexities and madness of life, the series urges individuals to treasure and value themselves. Each artwork in this series celebrates the vibrant colours of life, urging everyone to shine in their true brilliance. They remind us that we are all one-of-a-kind, like precious diamonds shaping facets of our souls with each passing moment. The theme of “Mixing Identities” in this exhibition resonates profoundly with both series. Each artwork reflects a blend of diverse influences, emotions, and experiences – celebrating the beauty that emerges when different aspects of ourselves merge into a cohesive and harmonious whole. It speaks to the essence of our multifaceted identities and how we can find unity in our diversity. Ultimately, the message linked to the artworks shown in this event revolves around embracing and cherishing our true selves, acknowledging the richness that arises from mixing various aspects of our identities. By connecting with the essence of each artwork, the audience is invited to embark on their own personal journeys of self-discovery and self-empowerment, celebrating the uniqueness that lies within them. The exhibition’s theme of “Mixing Identities” serves as a powerful and unifying thread, reminding us of the beauty that emerges when we embrace the complexity and diversity of our individual identities.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the exhibition or as a part of preexisting works?
MR – The artworks presented in the exhibition are part of my preexisting body of work. “La Papesse” was a particularly significant piece that required considerable time and dedication to create. It took me a full year to complete the journey with her, as the artwork held a profound message and transformative experience for me as an artist. As for the “Woman in Gold” series, “Woman in Gold 21” was the initial piece created before my art residency in Vallauris. During my residency, I continued the series by creating “Woman in Gold 22,” “Woman in Gold 23,” and “Woman in Gold 27.” The inspiration for these artworks came from the beautiful city of Vallauris, located in the picturesque Cote d’Azur region, where Picasso himself created his renowned ceramic artworks. The enchanting surroundings of Vallauris, with its vibrant colours, blue skies, soaring birds, and citrus-laden trees, deeply inspired me. These elements found their way into my artworks, reflecting the essence of the environment that enveloped me during my time there. In conclusion, the artworks presented in the exhibition were not specifically created for the event; rather, they are part of my preexisting collection. “La Papesse” represents a transformative journey that unfolded over the course of a year, while the “Woman in Gold” series captures the inspiration and beauty derived from my art residency in the alluring city of Vallauris. The connection between these artworks and the theme of the exhibition, “Mixing Identities,” lies in the diverse influences and experiences that have shaped each piece, contributing to the richness and depth of their artistic expression.
LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or an instinctive process?
MR – My process of choosing subjects for my artworks involves a balanced mix of reason and instinct. The “Fool’s Journey” series draws inspiration from the structured symbolism of the major arcana in tarot, providing a purposeful framework for creative expression. On the other hand, the “Woman in Gold” series emerged instinctively, celebrating femininity and inspiring self-discovery. This harmonious blend allows me to create meaningful and empowering artworks that resonate deeply with myself and my audience.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
MR – I have a deep appreciation for the ITSLIQUID Platform as I believe it serves as an exceptional mediator between artists and the public. This platform offers a remarkable opportunity for emerging artists, like myself, to be discovered and showcase their creative expressions to a broader audience. Art, in its essence, is meant to be seen and experienced. Being featured on the ITSLIQUID Platform has allowed me to share my artwork with a diverse and global audience, and I am immensely grateful for this opportunity. ITSLIQUID’s commitment to promoting contemporary art and fostering connections between artists and art enthusiasts is truly commendable. By organizing various events and exhibitions, the platform creates a vibrant and engaging space for artistic dialogue and cultural exchange. In conclusion, I hold the ITSLIQUID Platform in high regard for its dedication to supporting artists and providing them with a platform to share their work with the world. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this event and to have my art seen and appreciated by a wider audience.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
MR – Regrettably, I was unable to attend the event in person, but I’m delighted to hear that it was met with positive reviews from my friends who had the pleasure of being there. They enthusiastically shared their appreciation for the excellent organization of the event, as well as the thoughtfully chosen venue that complemented the artworks beautifully. The overall atmosphere was described as engaging and captivating, creating a truly memorable experience for both artists and visitors alike. I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to have my artworks featured in such a well-organized exhibition. Even though I couldn’t be present, knowing that my art resonated with the audience and was part of a successful and enjoyable event brings me immense satisfaction. I extend my heartfelt thanks to the organizers for their dedication and hard work in curating an outstanding showcase that showcased art in its best light. Their commitment to providing a meaningful and enriching experience for both artists and the public is truly commendable, and I’m honoured to have been a part of it.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
MR – Absolutely, I wholeheartedly recommend collaborating with the ITSLIQUID Platform. In my experience, their services have been top-notch, displaying a high level of organization and professionalism. Throughout our interactions, I felt fully supported and well taken care of by the ITSLIQUID team. Their dedication to ensuring a seamless and successful event was evident, making the entire process smooth and enjoyable. From the initial communication to the execution of the exhibition, I felt confident that my artworks were in good hands with ITSLIQUID. Their commitment to promoting contemporary art and fostering connections between artists and the public is commendable, and I believe any artist would benefit from being part of their events. Overall, I am grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with ITSLIQUID, and I am impressed by the high level of service they provide. Their platform offers a fantastic opportunity for artists to showcase their work to a global audience and connect with like-minded individuals. I am confident that any collaboration with ITSLIQUID will be a rewarding and enriching experience for both artists and the platform itself.