The Interaction: modern media art in Ukraine
Interview with the Ukrainian media artist Nicholas Ovcharov on his first exhibition of video and media art “The Interation”.
Nicholas Ovcharov has completed work on his first exhibition of video and media art. Katherina Butovchenko decided to talk with the young artist about the ideas of his main concern. We met at the Museum of Contemporary Art, which Nikolay regards as a platform for the demonstration of his works.
Why media art? I know that you studied movies. Why did you switch to modern media art?
I did not switch at all. Movies are big forms of video, video art is a small form, but stronger in its semantic load. I like when every frame is justified, every movement has a certain function, and the overall action is filled with deep philosophy. I realized that small forms without dynamics and without sound can achieve their goal and people will understand the ideas that I want to convey. It is all about understanding, not the transfer of ideas by word or text.
What ideas do you want to convey by your pictures? What do you care about today?
I am concerned about information and technical processes that affect the change in human behavior, the changing forms of interaction between people. Mankind is in a hectic state, and the concentration of people’s attention exclusively on their internal thinking processes is transformed into a permanent meditative state in which people remain even when they go out and appear in public. I’ve watched it many times. These changes will ultimately change humans, and such people as me or you, most probably, will cease to exist. There will be others, and we will most likely be the last of Homo sapiens.
Your paintings reveal a certain philosophy. Aren’t you afraid that many may not understand your work?
I try to always look from the outside and make it so that the picture is clear. In addition, each picture will have an annotation that reveals its idea. The viewer can only read and carefully look at what is going on the picture. It is very important for me to be understood.
How difficult is it to be engaged in contemporary art in Ukraine?
It’s possible. The main thing is to work hard and look for opportunities to realize your ideas. A big project is difficult to implement at once, since scholarships and grants are given to people who have already done something. Many artists can’t do anything due to the lack of money. Therefore, I recommend going in small steps and trying to be always independent.
What future do you see in Ukraine in terms of contemporary art?
Modern art is based on professionals and technologies. We have them and they will be more. Modern artists are responsible for the future of contemporary art in Ukraine. They outline the level, school, examples and art centers that are needed in every area of Ukraine. I’m sure that there will be more and more new independent modern artists who create something in our country. I do not exclude that Ukraine will give birth to new directions of information art.
All your artworks are without sound. Why?
There are two reasons. The first is the ability to attract attention precisely by the picture, not by sound. Sound is another source of information, but visual image is the top priority in the video picture. So I made all the pictures clean from the sound effects. And the second reason is the accessibility for people who do not hear. For me it is very important, and I thought about it even before the creation of the first picture. I do not like it when headphones are placed near each screen at the exhibitions of modern art. So, if a person has certain problems with hearing, he will not be able to understand it. Art should be as accessible to everyone as possible.
Photo credits: Nicholas Ovcharov