The Essence of Trust

The Marlinski exhibition opens a new stage for art shows in the heart of Kiev. The EU and member states like Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Poland and Sweden run a variety of practical reforms in Ukraine from the House of Decentralization, which from now on will host works by Ukrainian artists. Here’s an interview from the opening event:

Kirill Marlinski: Points of Contact

The “House of Decentralization” (Kyiv, Velyka Zhytomyrska Str. 20) opened a new stage for a series of contemporary art exhibitions by Ukrainian authors. The first is Kirill Marlinski, a 34-year-old Kyivan, who lived in Germany and the USA, returned to Ukraine, successfully engaged in business, but during the time of Maidan became an activist and and artist. The vernissage of “The Great Unmasking” series of oil paintings reveals how art revived his personality. The exhibition will last until January 30, 2018. This is a point of contact of art, ideas, dreams and reality of the artist. He made the first step of trust and took off the masks.

“Great Unmasking” – the stage is Yours!

– Are Your masks autoportraits?

– I did not portray myself, because I’m not about selfies. I chose masks, because they capture our emotions and charisma. We wear them like people all over the world. Masks, which I “took off” became independent characters, sources of discussions and causes for contemplation and self-reflection.

– Points of contact for ideas and the audience – that is the main objective of Art, and of this exhibition in particular.

How Essence and Mask contended

– Artists strive to capture the essence of man, but You decided to paint masks, which usually cover this essence. Is it a personal protest? Accusation? Reproach? Why are masks so important?

– What is essence and what is a mask? These concepts are intertwined. Masks are human faces that I see on myself and on others at certain moments. In an ephemeral moment filled with intensive emotion, each of the masks was my essence!

– Masks are inevitable in our interactions, because they are a matter of trust between people and Art as a process is an interaction! Malevich’s “Black Square”, or “Mona Lisa” – all depends on Your preference at a point in time. I choose masks for now.

– Realism is not needed to show the essence of personality.

Fuzzy Concepts, or Neural Networks

– At the exhibition, in addition to the “masks”, there are other works that amaze with their stories and technique of execution. What unites them into a single show?

– Here are paintings from two of my series, which are opposite in purpose. The “Fuzzy Concepts” series conceals meanings and underlying imagery, while the “Great Unmasking” accentuates them.

– But the painting “Tartuffe” is included in both series. It provides a point of intersection and interaction for two totally opposite concepts. The character of the great Moliere is a twofold creature. On the one hand, Tartuffe conceals something through abstraction from reality. From afar the mask looks fluffy and soft. Up close, we see how the surface is laced with the finest threads of paint – like a web, or a neural network that hides the blurred image of “skin and body” of the mask.

– It’s a splash painting technique with fine droplets and threads, where the brush or palette knife do not touch the canvas at all. The technique is detailed, requires accuracy, enormous amount of time and effort, but also leaves much to chance. Paint on the studio ceiling is proof of that.

– Now You can not see the idea at first glance. It requires reflection, active interaction of the viewer with the artwork – that’s exactly what we want!

Great Unmasking, or Paradoxes of Minimalism

The Great Unmasking series discloses something in every painting: the nuances of emotions and eccentric personalities. To go on with the example of Tartuffe – he hides something, but his hypocrisy is evident.

– Other paintings in this series are minimalistic: colorful spots of a certain form – and the background. Color is symbolic. For example, pink: it is traditionally associated with flowers, with the feminine. I use it for a masculine mask. A paradox? No, because pink in this context is a symbol of bravery and comfort of self acceptance. And that man is absolutely harmonious.

– I felt comfortable with myself when I decided to devote myself to Art.

Wind of Change and Vector of Motion

– November 21st, 2013 was the day I quit my previous life. I went out to Maidan (the Independence Square in Kyiv), called my partners and said that for about half a year (so I assumed) I would not return to business as usual. The vector of our country’s development was more important for me and I was not able to let these events just go past myself, into an unknown direction. I wanted to change my environment, my country, and myself to create a new direction. European values and Western Civilization attract me much more than what the russia could ever offer. I am a supporter of openness, trust, a normal judicial system and lack of corruption at all levels. Since that day we changed a lot and I returned to Art, which I did not practice since 2001.

– Yes, I am self-taught. I do not have an Art degree. Art is my passion and my gift.

How the Artist and the Businessman put up

– In what status do you live better – as artist or businessman?

– Happiness is when I can spend the whole day in the studio, or with my children, and that is the beautiful side of life. I desire this, I live this. Being an artist is something that I have been looking for the last 20 years. Wellness is where the soul is.

– Before the events of the Maidan, I focused my efforts on being successful in terms of material equivalents. For example, selling corporate hospitality at World Cups, Olympics, Formula One, or other events was interesting and profitable. That gave me a cushion to make it as an artist over the last few years. The intention was to create a body of work, and not to have to immediately sell them somewhere. And I do not paint on order. If it is not relevant to me, I don’t do it.

– It’s a question of the soul, and it trumps all others.

Art and Management – Heads and Tails of art monetization

– Is there a purpose in what you do?

– Yes. To create culture and give people the opportunity to enjoy Art. How? Create and promote art – personally! Everyone has to take care of own business. If You are an artist – create! If You do – You have to understand that Your Art has to feed You and Your family!

– In this sense, the artist is the same as everyone else. Do not wait for help, especially at the start of your career. You – the artist – have to work more and better than anyone else and do even what You don’t like. For example – selling paintings that are especially valuable You, be able to show yourself, to tell about yourself. Find partners, find customers. Find your collectors. Create and grow your own collectors! Become successful. There is an art market in the world, and You have to be active and do everything to get Your piece of the pie.

– Creativity and management are my own and this way I can remain honest: both in Art and with myself.

Decentralization: New Opportunities

– The House of Decentralisation is a huge modern office where people from different countries of the European Union and Ukraine work on various projects. It hosts many trainings, conferences and other international events.

– Do you see a million concrete columns and walls here? They need to be filled with Art! Our joint initiative with Andreas von Schumann is just the beginning of cultural interaction supported by the Ukrainian Local Empowerment, Accountability and Development Program (ULEAD), the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GiZ), the Swedish Embassy and other international organizations. I am glad that we created a new exhibition space for Ukrainian artists and a new opportunity to acquire paintings to bring home to Your country the best of contemporary Ukrainian art.

– Decentralization is based on trust. Trust creates new points of contact. Ukraine needs a culture of trust between Ukrainians and with the world.

Written by Anna Arkhipova

Photos by Iryna Stoyka

Translation by Kirill Marlinski


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