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Igor Vulokh: I became famous through misunderstsnding…

When I was a child, I was very reserved, and I read a lot. I liked to go away by myself to contemplate pristine nature. I loved my city: it inspired my interest in history, which always attracted.

I need certain people, while other people need me. For me, these are two different categories in my relationship with people. For these two reasons, I still don`t understand what they think about me.

I became famous in part through a misunderstanding. Recognition came more or less unexpectedly for me. I still don`t know why I became famous. This is why I consider it to be misunderstanding.

I was a scholar before becoming an artist. I studied exceptional events that appear inconceivable. This applies both to art school and my dialogues with nature and history. My studies made me understand that a certain elucidation of the present is often simply a continuation of the past.

Understanding is the greatest reward. What I did for myself turned out to be understandable to other people, no matter what their status or social position. This is probably the greatest reward for an artist. Such things happened rarely with me. 

I approach my generation selectively and without looking at the labels that the press to art lovers gave them. I`m like an ordinary viewer here. “Abstractions” “sixties arties” “non-conformism”- they`re all conditional labels. Sometimes, more remote periods are closer to me, while closer periods (the so-called “avant-garde”) are very remote. Thus, generally accepted categories aren`t particularly important to me.

Gennady Aygi and I understood each other very well, which is fairly rare. Aygi was a very sensitive person. He had an uncommon feature: a subtle spiritual makeup (This is the only thing that really counts).
I told the world a lot in my art – as well as in other fields. As a result, I don`t know whether I still have any secrets from the world.

My grandchildren may say very interesting thing when they take a look at my works. Perhaps they will be critical, though I don`t even dare to make conjecture here. In any case, I won`t take their opinions to heart. 

Viewers usually had the following approach: from their own standpoint, they compared me with the burden of their culture of habits and understanding. In other words, they sincerely spoke out about my art, yet they always, expressed themselves. For this reason, I don`t consider their reviews to be objective.

Partaking in the harmony that visibly exist in the world means partaking in precious visual experience, which gives life to man. Certainly is only momentary. Time Flows, and one`s preferences change with each passing moment. No certainty exist here: it vibrates in flow of life itself. 

Travel is essential for feeling the difference between your native town and other places. Voyages emphasize characteristic features ad differences when you compare places. Comparing different places makes their characteristic features stand out. You can understand and feel the ground on which you stand or once stood only in such a comparison. 

Voyages have great inner importance. They involve a lot more than just formally crossing a line. Human imagination and creativity knows no bounds in this sense.

I wouldn`t say that I have a foreboding of the apocalypse. I see a change of cultures rather than their general downfall. Simply a change. 

Today, one undoubtedly has greater possibilities to express himself – more freedom. The personal factor in the choice of art changes everything today. After we take a look at everything, we can choose for ourselves what we like in contemporary art and what we don`t. Thus everyone can make his own choice. 

The fact that a lot of art is appearing today (in comparison with my youth) does not upset or surprise me. In this chaos, everyone must make his own decision as to what is closer to him. When you determine your own preferences, you`ll understand what was important for you yesterday and what will be important for you tomorrow. When you understand this, it`ll stop oppressing you and become something living and harmonious.

Everything can be bought, and everything can be sold. You can choose not to participate in this process. You should quit while you`re still alive instead of killing yourself if you can`t bear it. Advertising is an artistic way of telling people about a product. It is also the search for a common language that demands a lot of work from the artist. Certain goods serve as toys for people who are no longer children, while others are essential for life. I consider art to be a good that is vital for a person. It will stretch out its hand when you want to jump off a building. 

There were many happy moments in my life. If they had been very rare occurrences, I would have rememdered them. Happiness came to me in my childhood and youth and sometime comes to me now. It is difficult to say what causes it. 

The category of the “great artist” doesn`t exist for me: it always depends on the criteria of the time. The category of “real artist” is more understandable. Time plays with these quantities. What was considered to be great in the 19th century, say, pales in comparison with present-day trends. There are many examples of shifting emphasis. For example, Rublev is a titan today, while Repin was considered great in 19th century. Yet Rublev`s status can change, too. There are no eternal titans in the history of art. The same will happen to our age. Certain things, which stayed in the background up until then, will emerge. Usually, people who want to be objective ask: “ What is more beautiful?”. Yet there is milder form: “What do you like more?”. The latter is naturally more objective.

What I read ten years ago is no longer topical for me. If I kept a diary, it would show a totally different pictures. When you stick to centain trends, should be a “personal timbre” that is not a matter of “good’ or “bad” but that simply leads you in the direction you need to go.

I love children very much. I once put on a real theatrical show for them. All of us were standing in line to buy tickets for a children`s movie. The kids couldn`t wait to see the movie, but the line was very long…A lady in a huge down shawl was standing in front of us. And what do you think I did to cheer my children up? I bent slightly forward and pretended that I wanted to eat the shawl! I simply began to chew on it before the eyes of astounded passersby in such a way that the unfortunate lady didn`t notice a thing. I also made funny faces and waved my hands in an amusing way. Naturally, this looked somewhat strange from the side, yet all the people standing behind us were simply holding their sides with laughter. Of course, the children enjoyed this crazy act the most. I suspect that they still remember my show with particular excitement. 
 

© Igor Vulokh