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Andrey Bartenev: "Seals, Elephants, Women And Money Cause A Surge Of Feelings"
Andrey Bartenev: "Seals, Elephants, Women And Money Cause A Surge Of Feelings"

Video: Andrey Bartenev: "Seals, Elephants, Women And Money Cause A Surge Of Feelings"

Video: A surge of emotions 2022, December

“This user has exceeded the friend request limit. Please try a little later,”comments Facebook on my attempt to make virtual friendships with the artist Andrey Bartenev. This is not surprising: Bartenev is all about love, love of life, people, happiness. New exhibition in the MFC "Kuntsevo Plaza" with the ultimatum title "Give Love!" was no exception in his positively directed work: five huge black and white sculptures made of painted wood and cardboard are located in public areas - a big kind cat, a giant elephant, "a lot of money", a large-faced "love girl" Luba, a gigantic polar bear. Children run along them, adults take pictures of them, characters in ball-shaped costumes, which are Bartenev's hallmark, lead round dances-performances around them. And everyone is smiling. About the ability to bring a smile to a wide range of spectators,The artist spoke about his "natural dynamite", immorality, plans for the summer and, of course, about love in an interview with


Andrey Bartenev against the background of his sculpture on the 4th floor of the exhibition "Give Love!"

Andrey, let's talk about the name of the exhibition. "Give love!" - this is not even a request, but an order or demand, some kind of imperative

People come to shopping malls either to buy something or to get a certain entertainment program. You come and this place is made to do whatever you want. Therefore, I juxtaposed these two words in an imperative manner. My sculptures just answer this request: here we are, we are for you and we give you what you want. Do you want a love of money? Please love for money. Love for cats? Here it is, the love of cats. If you want love for a woman, here's a girl's portrait for you. If you want well-being - here's the love for well-being, get it.

Since we're talking about shopping malls. This is an unexpected playground for an artist like you. What are its advantages?

Here's a different audience. When I came here for the first time after receiving an invitation, I saw several teenagers on the top floor - they hang out with the girls here, eat cheap food, look at their gadgets and do nothing else. I thought: "My God, what could such a public be interested in?" And yesterday, when I was painting Lyuba's portrait, a group of teenagers came up to me and one of them held out: “Nice …” Well, in general, what a compliment! I was guided precisely by such spectators, I did not expect to be delighted: this is not the right audience. But I understood that it was necessary to build such objects that, perhaps, would slightly change the subconscious of these people, their actions.

How long did the work on the exhibition take?

One and a half - two months. The production itself was launched in early May. This exhibition was built by the team of the architect Kirill Bair, they worked a lot with the Archstoyanie festival and its organizer Yulia Bychkova, who is also supervising this exhibition of mine. And before that there were negotiations, this is the most difficult part in the modern world. It would be better if the production took as long as negotiations.

You have very positive creativity. Is it a state of mind or a message to the audience?

Previously, it was a state of mind, but now, rather, a forced practice. When I started, in the 1990s, there was a sea of ​​optimistic and positive artists in Russia. I was no exception, rather one in a thousand. A large number of happy people around have taught me various manifestations of this happiness. And since the 2000s, this number has decreased, and I realized that I am obliged to broadcast that generous era of happiness in the 1990s for new generations of young artists, to preserve this tradition. This has become a necessary measure, but I try to serve her sincerely.

You say that all your creativity is dedicated either to love or to suffering from its absence. What other aspects, subtopics do you raise in your works?

You know, we can bring up various topics. But the basic one is one. You either create in a state of love, or in your work you reflect the period when this love is absent. And you show how you suffer when she is absent. That's all.

What kind of love is this? Romantic?

It can be human - from relatives to you, from you to relatives. From you to animals, and from nature to you. It can be completely different. Man appeared on the planet to experience the most important feeling - love, and its infinite number of versions.

People who follow your creative biography with interest have probably wondered for years - is there any image that you have not yet tried on?

Oh, this is an intrigue that I love very much. Because the most difficult thing is to surprise not even your audience, but yourself. I have such natural dynamite in me, I do not like to repeat myself, I have a need to constantly see an unexpected facet of my creative practice. This constant change creates a feeling of freshness and youth, energy, and this is the most valuable thing. Tonight, during the preparation for the exhibition, 12 people raised the wooden head of an elephant, it is very heavy. I look and think: "This is a plot from a painting of the Renaissance: some dwarfs sacrifice the head of Goliath." And it was so scary, I didn't even want to watch … But then I decided to follow this battle, and here is the feeling that this or that moment of life is part of the performance, it is amazing.

Andrey Bartenev against the background of Lyuba's work on the 3rd floor of the Give Love!

The ideas that you broadcast are very simple in a good way: love, goodness, beauty, happiness. But at the same time from the outside it seems that you often choose a complex form for this. What for? How do you feel - that a peace sign, pacifics, for example, should be made of black and white balls and put on yourself, to become this sign yourself? Do you have a name, characteristic for your creative method?

It's all intuition. I will tell you a story that happened yesterday. There is a cafe, and they have a jar of pencils. I went there for lunch, and I see these pencils. And I'm obsessed with pencils, because I draw in notebooks all the time. And I don't know if they are given them for free or as a gift, but I just took one - a long, black one. My conscience began to torment me: "What have I done?" Some time passed, and it so happened that I started working on the portrait of Lyuba at night - where can I get an instrument for this at two in the morning? Then I remember the pencil stolen during the day, and here it came in very handy. This is called intuition, it sometimes makes you do an inexplicable and immoral act. But she knows the future.

You have a very sublime, otherworldly, cosmic image. I do not want to humanize him completely, it is difficult to imagine you in everyday life. But there is a question that is especially relevant now: what are your plans for the summer, Andrey?

I am very busy this summer. Tonight I am leaving for the city of Vyksa, where Art-ravine is going on, we are doing a parade of cats. Then "Night of the ad eaters" on June 4, we will plant a tree. Then I fly to Norway for the final exam of my students at the Norwegian Theater Academy. I return and immediately leave for Voronezh for the Platonov Festival, then the two-day Milkshake cyber culture festival in Amsterdam. Then I do several private projects, after which I immediately fly off to Norway for the whole of August to teach another semester at the academy.

These are really big plans. What is rest for you?

This is when I'm by the sea. I hope this summer I will be able to go to Spain, there are beautiful beaches that remind me of Jurmala. And I will spend a few hours or days there. I really love the sea. I come to the sea, and I always have the feeling that it wants to tell me something. I try to hear it and somehow react. I always go to the beach with garbage bags and gloves in order to collect garbage. I see that the sea doesn't like it when its beaches are dirty. I enjoy the sound of waves, sand - it is wet, then dry, then dense, then liquid. How can I help it? I treat the sea as a huge face and I try to make this face better. Of course, I alone cannot remove all this, but this does not diminish my enthusiasm. Here, I can help this beauty in some way.

Exhibition of Andrey Bartenev "Give Love!" runs from May 28 to July 28 at the Kuntsevo Plaza multifunctional center (19 Yartsevskaya Street). Free admission.

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