YANA STRIZH interview

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I do not know how to express my deep respect for the Art , the personality of Yana Strizh. Maybe the interview that is following is the most important remind for me about why i am here and what we should dare to ask from ourselves in order to make Art cause, yes, Art is a religious reflection of another type of human. Beyond words her words are travelling us to the fields of the unknown, the roots who nobody knows if they are coming from our primordial past or from our invisible future.

Thanks Yana for your wisdom sharing here and for your power to make me think that we have many things to do on this earth.

  @yanastrizhh
 
 
 
 
AM:Your Photography and Collage Art give me the impression of a magnificent exposure of something holy and unholy at the same time. What do you want to express through your Artwork.
 
Thank you. I am both flattered and pleased that my message resonated with you so well. For me, my art, the search for, and the pain of, the human condition all manifest through the confluence of conflict of the higher and lower natures.
This is what all academic art is about, if one deciphers the clues and looks at the symbolism.                       

Luke 11:35: Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

In part, all of my work is an attempt to leave the confines of the self, to take a break from my troubled persona,
to rise above the conventional and the common and breathe in the universal, the absolute, the archetypical.

To venture deep into my inner jungle and witness my wild nature, a sliver of my subconscious, so to speak, my primal unformatted paradise.

I grew up in the tundra in the far north. The lack of vegetation, color,

and all the aspects of the south raging within and without, instilled in me an ineradicable longing for beauty and freedom.

You could say that I am a storyteller. I love fairy tales for their universal ability to touch on what is most important.

Magical fairy tales are a reflection of the mental processes of the collective unconscious.

What interests me is this cross-section of the collective psyche, this underside of reality.

For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to chthonic mythology,

the kind that deals with the wild power of the earth and underground kingdoms.

Now, in my art, I like to evoke this chthonic fear in the audience,
the fear one feels towards the forces of nature and death, which are impossible to overcome.

To me, chthonic cults symbolize the fact that we must respect our inner, dark, irrational, and unfettered power and learn to reign it in.

Recognize, explore, and tame our own dragon. Examine more closely the logic and grandeur of ancient understandings of the world.

Ask ourselves some questions, for example, "What did the humans gain by desacralizing the world?"

And whether an existence bereft of divinity, God, and gods, could be a fertile ground for a new type of art.

 

AM: You create a blend of goth, renaissance, psychedelic and surreal imagery full of erotic and religious connotations at the same time.

Which is your most important influence (artists, movement, idea, age) to this addictive alchemy?

It is hard for me to point to anything specific. But, in general, I think that if you look at history,

the art of the early Gothic and early Renaissance periods was as close as it gets to the true academic purpose of art.

That kind of art would awaken something spiritual in a person, part the waters of good and evil, so to speak.

A medieval revolution, when aesthetics merged with ethics and only the sublime could be called beautiful. A beautiful medieval religious art project that strove to overcome wickedness through art.

During the Renaissance, we lose this. And we arrive at secularism and mannerism. Photoshop culture of sorts.

Since childhood I've been drawn towards the classics with natural academic foundations, so I'm attracted to this aesthetic.

I graduated from the University of Culture and Arts and have a degree in cultural studies.

Which is why, in the world of contemporary art, where the old ways are dying in agony,

 

I find it hard to find my place and embrace the modern values. For me, beauty is not just hollow garnish and ephemeral imagination,

but a property of a special kind: the kind that manifests when nature is infused with the spiritual.

Worlds that are synthetic, fictional, and subjective do not excite me. So I dance around religious connotations,

for if you read into their symbolism you will find that they say it all and there is nothing more to add.

And is it really necessary to try to improve and reinvent the wheel?

It is folly to think that we can create something original under the sun.

However, to heal and cleanse oneself from the influence of the conventions is what it means to be an art aficionado.

As for the erotic component, I see no contradictions here. True spirituality is imbued with transcendental erotic ecstasy of being a part of (and copulating with) all existence.

A direct connection to reality. The erotic is sacred to me. The religious person is one who strives with all their soul to exist,

to be deeply immersed into, and to participate in, reality, to absorb its power. Isn't that sex? And one of my goals as a creator is to purify some of the sin from the body.

You say it's alchemy, and it is a very apt description. From the raw ore of the body and the primal lustful beast we ascend to be something emotional, conscious, human.

The Bible says, "your face is of heaven and your body is of hell." One is incorporeal without the other.

 

AM:What do you feel exactly during a shooting, what happens in your mind.

Well, I guess you could say that the creative process is a kind of ritual for me. I relish the ability to experiment and

leave the bounds of my inner self, the ability to consciously explore the unconscious. Each photoshoot is akin to a passage through an inner labyrinth.

An opportunity to examine my inner landscape and feel my true desires. But also it is a challenge to stay in contact with the model.

Not to imitate, but to truly see them. Art gives one the right to be free. An unfettered paradise, free from all control and discipline.

The place where your shadow, your spirits, and the supra-personal dwell.

 

AM:On your social media we can find your favourite reference to Bible, Koran, Egyptian Book of Dead, Mahabharata among other books.

Is a kind of metaphysical gate to your whole inspiration that coming from Spirituality's milestones?

That is certainly the case. Any true inspiration occurs in the moments when the artist becomes the messenger of the supreme.

Creation is a spontaneous outburst of the mystical. We live in interesting times, when the world's religions have come crashing down and

the people are all secular. But it seems to me, that there remains a cluster of spiritual people who

have taken responsibility for their inner religious commitment, and those people have become the today's creators.

Within every artist there is an unending quest for unconventional meanings, the desire to discover one's place in the grand scheme of things.

And what is spirituality, pray tell? In simple terms, it is the ability to see oneself holistically as

a small part of the whole and understand and respect all the higher cosmic laws that govern our lives.

When we create, we return to ritualistic thinking. The worldly time dissipates and emerges the time sacred and primordial.

A ritual is a road to your own unconscious, a method that humanity developed early in its history. 

It is the ability to turn a symbolic experience into something physical and real. Isn't this what we strive for when we create?

 

AM:Share with me the highlights of your career, your top projects.

It is hard for me to think of my path as a career. You could say I've been avoiding having a career all this time.

Precisely because I wasn't ready to trade off my ritualistic approach and start making art that is formal and mundane.

And big projects would always require such a tradeoff. The sheer number of people on site, other people's remarks and

opinions whispered behind my back: all this would always drag me into the world of social conventions.

And there is nothing but imitation and driving on rails in that world. I did do some work with wonderful designers in St. Petersburg and Moscow,

but I always considered fashion to be something kitsch, reeking of jokes and imitation. Social antics.

My loved ones were upset with me because of this this intransigent mentality and my strong desire to abandon fashion, but that's the way it was.

I spent a lot of time in a dark room, printing out photos and breathing silver bromide.

I also, for a long time, worked as a teacher, for I possess a certain degree of alarmism,

a revolutionary drive, and knowledge, which make for a perfect combination for awakening young artists and catalyzing their creative conscience.

Some time ago, people from the Mariinsky Theatre approached me to do a photoshoot for some playbills and sketches.

After that, they offered me a position of the official in-house photographer, which looked like a dream job.

All those dressing rooms with old mothballed crinolines, elven maidens, and young men who could fly.

I was tasked with assisting their visual rebranding efforts and creating a new visual style for St. Petersburg's best ballet theater.

But soon the pandemic struck, everything closed down and I promptly escaped to the faraway island of Bali,

where I remain to this day, hiding from the social frenzy that has spread through Europe.  

I wanted to learn how to be true to myself and sing with my own voice. It took me some time to find that voice,

but now I feel ready to be seen and ready to move towards new horizons.

 

AM: My moto is " I make seduction visible". What is Seduction for you?

This is an interesting question. We humans are so limited in our ability to understand each other through language.

For one the word seduction means huge cream cakes with blue rosettes, for another it means an opium den with beautiful snake women writhing with desire,

and for another still it means betrayal and chests laden with gold stolen from his brother.

The seduction or temptation is a call of sorts, a call from wickedness, a departure beyond the bounds of morality.

There can be a healthy side to it: an escape from arbitrary taboos, or a dark side: a subjugation by one's instincts.

I often face inner temptations, for it is my nature to be a willful free spirit, and my energy is boundless.

So, at some level, my whole life is a fight with temptation.

To be truthful, my main temptation lies in the realm of the body. Power and wealth do not tempt me at all, but attempts to find love…

Those are something my instincts drive me to.

For example, my "Pray for monogamy" series is an exploration of this subject. It's simple and naive, but the topic is very personal to me.

Is it really possible to love the body and soul of a lover for the rest of your life and never desire another body and soul at all?

And how useful and healthy is it for one's energies? Especially when it comes to artists, whom new experiences nourish better than bread.

I am seduced and tempted by love. In all its forms.

 

AM:What about your next plans and projects? Which vision do you follow for your Creative future?

It has become important for me to carry my message and to be heard. You could say my revolutionary alarmism has heightened and

I want to scale my projects accordingly. I have fully matured in my themes. They have finally taken form and so I am ready to express them at an audience.

You could say that I have emerged from a period of self-reflection where I had no need for audiences, where I was maturing au jus.

I now seek to enter the transpersonal space, speak into our shared collective unconscious and be heard.

I want to create symbolic and enlightening fairy tales that will nourish modern unenlightened souls with meaning.

I seek to, and forgive me for this, sing an ode to the primordial Chaos, affirm the inseparability of spirituality and sexuality, awaken people's ritual thinking,

and ignite in them the desire to reconnect with their shadow. To create a semantic and visual iconostasis that can help reconcile our inner man of the West with our own individual, secret, and inchoate history, with the non-European cultures that are still alive within each of us.

AM:Thanks so much , keep on Art!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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