Luca Curci talks with Zinaїda during CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2019 at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space and during ALCHEMIC BODY 2019 at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space.
Zinaїda (1975, Kyiv, Ukraine) – Ukrainian artist, who concentrates in her art on images and myths revolving around women’s questions and female identity in Ukrainian and world culture. She is a member of the art collective Con Artist Collective, New York, USA, and Food of War – international art collective of independent artists. Zinaїda participated as facilitator in Marina Abramovic: In Residence (Kaldor Public Art Project, Australia). She is also the founder and director of ArtRehub – a volunteer initiative to provide psychological rehabilitation for those people who suffered deep psychological trauma during the warfare which is still ongoing in Ukraine. Zinaїda graduated from National Academy of Arts, Kyiv, Ukraine (BA in Fine Arts and Art History). She is a Member of the National Union of Artist of Ukraine.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Zinaїda – On my father’s side in the fifth generation I am a Kyiv woman. I was influenced by the environment in which I lived in: creative, bohemian one; the area with the Academy of Arts, Theatre institute, historical architecture everywhere, where many different concerts have taken place. It is probably DNA, because my relatives are well-known architects, artists, masters, who somehow influenced my choice, my immersion in art. My mother took me to ballet, opera and theatres, to all exhibitions, got acquainted with famous objects of art and cultural events of the capital. The art was in me, I was frantically drawing night and day, I was not interested in toys or dolls, I was drawn only to drawing.
LC – What are you currently working on?
Z – Right now I’m working on two big ideas. One of them continues my eternal theme – the woman of the Universe – where I analyse all the current problems that are bothering us today: wars, catastrophes, gender and feminist movements. I was looking for historical facts and reasons why this is happening to humanity. Working on a worldwide image of a woman shows my desire to revive her through a return to the original source. The second work is quite the opposite and is entitled “Without Women”. It is about men who do very unusual things for the masculine nature, while women are forced to perform both roles: female and male.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
Z – The themes of culture, roots, and the land where I was born and which still has ancient traditions, rituals and ceremonies. The first thing that inspires me is my land, its traditions, travels and expeditions, where I find the extraordinary facts about culture and everyday life that still exist in our homeland. Everything that belongs to women’s life, especially women’s energy – the strong and powerful Ukrainian culture, the energy of our people – all that make us feel how much love and maternal warmth there is. As for my favourite object, it is a natural phenomenon – flowers, as well as man and everything he creates.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
Z – There is no choice to be or not to be. If you are an artist, then you should always be an artist, at any time and circumstances remain who you really are.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
Z – When I set the goal to do my part and achieve my goal, I see no obstacles. The only thing that can slow me down is the environment, the society I am in. I have to be patient with it, despite its shortcomings and conventions. On the one hand, it can distract me from my ideas, and on the other, it can convince me.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
Z – I like the themes of the festivals, so I plan to continue to participate. The topics are very relevant, because art is a language that always influences the environment, a language that exists to convey important messages to society. It’s a really good format.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
Z – The theme of the festival ALCHEMIC BODY FIRE. AIR. WATER. EARTH 2019 is completely in line with my video work FLOW, which is devoted to the topic of Chornobyl and the five primary elements: earth, air, ether, water and fire. In my work, each symbol is the energy of an individual element. FLOW is a kind of performance in which, thanks to the remaining knowledge and the remains of household things found during the expeditions, I reconstruct the basic codes of traditional life as well as decorative and applied art of local residents in Polissya.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
Z – Yes, of course, I would recommend to collaborate with you. I like your promptness and attention to detail.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
Z – It would be nice for artists to be able to get visitors’ feedback on submitted works, reviews and articles in the media if the works really impressed. It is very important for each of the participants to have a feedback, because art is first and foremost an interaction with society.