Mirna Rudan Lisak, Multidisciplinary Virtual 3D Installation, still image from the video exhibited at Pixels of Identities, Spain
Interview: Mirna Rudan Lisak
Luca Curci’s conversation with Mirna Rudan Lisak about her work and Pixels of Identities, Spain.
Mirna Rudan Lisak, B.Eng. (Faculty of Architecture), Ph.D. (The Arts Academy), is a Croatian architect, designer, multidisciplinary artist and author of published essays on culture and art. She is employed as a Strategic Planning and Development Expert Advisor at Zagreb City Hall. Between 2011 and 2013 she was a member of the Academy Council, University of Zagreb, and in 2014 she was invited guest lecturer on the course in Culture Buildings at the Faculty of Architecture. Her research interests are focused on theory and philosophy of all branches of art in Western culture, from the early modern period to the present, with accent on abstract art. Her chief focus is to search for analogies where only resemblances seem to exist and to identify opposites that form new wholes. She is fluent in Croatian (mother tongue) English, French, German and Italian and has also studied Latin.
Mirna Rudan Lisak, Multidisciplinary Virtual 3D Installation – waiting for the concert to commence, 2013
Luca Curci – When did you first get interested in art?
Mirna Rudan Lisak – My mother was a concert pianist trained at the Rimsky Korsakov Conservatory in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and my grandmother was a poet, so I have been surrounded by art since the day I was born. I will never forget the long hours my mother spent preparing for the concerts, with my brother and me playing under the piano. The music she played often suggested the character of our games, providing us with fantastic background scenery. I was drawn to music from a very early age. We also had a big library at home that included many monographs of famous artists, so even before I had learned how to read I used to spend hours looking at pictures and trying to copy them. I knew them by heart and I could easily reproduce them from memory. Later I received a formal education – at the age of seven I started studying the piano at Blagoje Bersa Music School in Zagreb, and as a teenager I attended a 4-year course in painting and drawing at Zagreb Art Education Centre where I exhibited my work in group exhibitions.
Mirna Rudan Lisak’s interpretation of multidisciplinarity in arts, 2013
L. C. – Can you say something about your artistic work? What are your inspirations?
M. R. L. – Allow me to start at the beginning. In 1997 I graduated from the Faculty of Architecture and in 1998 I was employed as an intern at the City Office for Legal Affairs and City Property. Now I am the only architect and strategic planning and development expert in the Legal Affairs Sector. Simultaneously with the work in the City Office, I worked for eight years on trademark and visual identity design for marketing and advertising purposes commissioned by individual clients and businesses. However, nothing that I have professionally been engaged with over the years has ever brought me as much fulfilment as art. So, in 2010 I enrolled in the post-graduate study course leading to a Ph.D. at the Arts Academy, University of Zagreb. I completed all course requirements with honours and was the only candidate to defend a doctoral thesis in less than three years. My Ph.D. comprised a multidisciplinary research into seven branches of art – music, painting, sculpture, installation art, architecture, literature and dance – together with the theory and philosophy of art. I used the method of dialectical analysis and synthesis and, based on the results of my research, I designed the conceptual project for a multidisciplinary architectural installation within a virtual 3D space. My inspirations? First of all, I believe that the origin of all art is nature. I should mention that my doctoral research centred around three artists whom I found equally interesting and inspiring: two Russian modern artists – painter Alexej von Jawlensky and classical composer Alexander Scriabin, and Croatian contemporary pianist Ivo Pogorelich.
Mirna Rudan Lisak’s interpretation of dialectical analysis and synthesis, 2013
I studied these seemingly unrelated artists and their work together hoping to arrive at a common platform where I think painting and music meet. My installation purports to show the productive aspects in reproductive art and is built as a counterpoint of independent ideas interacting in a common thought structure. It is set up on Lake Lugano, which is not a mere coincidence when we know that all three artists began showing a growing interest in abstraction in Switzerland. Furthermore, my 3D multimedia projection sets up Scriabin’s serialism in music in space, and the pictorial serialism of Jawlensky is presented so as to show how it occupies time. Simultaneously, I achieve a sense of simulated motion through a system of lasers responding to Pogorelich’s changing body gravity. The lasers are my interpretation of Scriabin’s colour system, taking as base the quint circle and Isaac Newton’s optics. As this project will not in actuality be played out so that real people could in reality assume their assigned roles, as a multidisciplinary artist I am responsible for the entire creative input. The visual content and computer projection are accompanied by my own performance of Scriabin’s composition for the piano ‘Feuillet d’album’, Op. 58. Originally, however, the installation was designed for Pogorelich’s performance of Scriabin’s piano pieces.
Mirna Rudan Lisak, Multidisciplinary Virtual 3D Installation during the concert, 2013
L. C. – What are you currently working on?
M. R. L. – Currently I am engaged in the study of the tendency towards abstraction in artistic expression as a confrontation or bridge between the emotional and rational, physical and spiritual, traditional and modern, classical and expressionistic, artistic and scientific, and as evidence of the rebellion against fixed rules and academic values and an attempt to make a leap into a new era, perhaps the last era of productive art, marked until the present by the generally accepted styles. To be more specific, after publishing two papers in the journal Rijeci (i.e. Words) issued by Matica hrvatska Sisak, my collection of essays entitled Alexander Scriabin’s Mystic Chord as a Puppet of Heinrich von Kleist is in the final editing stage. It is to be published in November, 2014. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the Editor in Chief, Mr. Andrija Tunjic, whose invaluable assistance helped me formulate my thoughts with utmost literary precision. In addition, my professor and mentor during my undergraduate studies and one of Croatia’s leading architects, Nenad Fabijanic, has engaged me to write a monograph on his professional work. The book is to be published in 2015.
Mirna Rudan Lisak, Alexander Scriabin’s Mystic Chord as a Puppet of Heinrich von Kleist, 2014
L. C. – What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
M. R. L. – Just keep on working.
Mirna Rudan Lisak’s interpretation of Alexej von Jawlensky’s Series Painting, Repetition Leading to Perfection, 2012
L. C. – What is art for you?
M. R. L. – I think that the way you formulate your question most pointedly reflects the fact that it is impossible to arrive at a definition of art. It’s interesting that we are able to make art and to enjoy art, but we are still not able to say what art is. We have witnessed the attempts at defining it by changing the discourse of the question, so instead of asking ‘what is art’ we were supposed to ask ‘when is art’. But your question is apt – it takes us from the universal to the very intimate level, perhaps the only possible level to discuss this point. For me, art is the pure essence of life. It’s constantly present in my heart, in my mind and in my hands. My soul lives it and dreams about it. Sometimes I am prepared to go to the other side of the world to see it, and I spend every single moment of my free time on it. That’s why I often feel like Franz Kafka – occupied with bureaucratic assignments during the day and engaged in research and creative writing at night. But if we are aware that the entire Western art is the result of artists attempting to reach the stars, it seems to me that my creative efforts are placed right where they should be.
Image courtesy of Mirna Rudan Lisak
L. C. – Do you think International ArtExpo organization can represent an opportunity for artists?
M. R. L. – Festivals organized by International ArtExpo Group offer artists the opportunity to show their work to a wide-ranging audience. Since festivals are very well advertised, artists have a chance to get noticed both locally and internationally. There is another matter of importance that I must mention. It’s wonderful for artists that so many experts working for International ArtExpo are helping to promote their art, so that all their time and energy may be devoted to creative work.