“…it is time for a very individual art.”
Zigendemonic produces work in a variety of media including drawing, painting, textile and printing techniques. Her numerous artist’s books contain compilations of her artworks which as a diary shows different conditions of her mental health, creative researches and episodes of personal life. Preferring to remain anonymous, since 2002 she works only under pseudonym. In 2016 she moved to Berlin, often spending more time working alone in her flat. She creates her compositions spontaneously, repeatedly using her acute and intimate experiences as the starting point in her work. This way main content of her artworks is personal drama where characters become tragical self-portraits. In her works we can clearly see atmosphere of neurosis, anxiety, obsessive and paranoid thoughts, high interest in the beauty of human anatomy and sexuality.
“Each book is a compilation of works from a certain period of time, which contains all my researches, emotions and passion from that moment.”
Hello Zigendemonic, you are known by your graphic artworks and artist’s books. Last winter, I found a compilation called Eroero in which your works ‘Dance of the Snake’ feature. This collective fanzine was published by Aer-Editions in 2012. From that date till today, would you like to tell us about what has changed in your art? Hello-hello. Let me be inconsistent, I see here some questions about Ukraine, I want to begin with them. If you want to imagine where I am from and what kind of art we have there -stop right here and check Borys Mykhailov, photographer- he captured the true atmosphere of Soviet, post-Soviet and modern Ukraine.
Now we can get back to the questions… The biggest change is that I no longer live in Ukraine. I’ve studied academicism (in fact I didn’t have much choice) and I hated that. I wanted to go the other way and be as raw and brutal as I could. It was a challenge for me. The works you saw in Eroero zine are from that period. I just got the Internet at home, and I was excited to see alternatives to classical art from library books. I sent my black and white drawings to all the independent publishers I could find, because in my environment there was no one to show it to. Frankly speaking, only after several years of living in Europe, I realized that my works are perceived not as a protest against academism, but more like something from a comic book. Lol! We just didn’t have that culture of comics and fanzines in Soviet, post-Soviet time.
Moving from Ukraine to Berlin is an important decision. Can you share the reasons thereof with us if it’s not too personal? How did the adaptation process and being someone living in Germany affected your art? I have always felt some kind of depressive “no future” mood while living in Ukraine, but I never thought of going abroad till 2014. At that time the political situation began to take such a turn that it seemed to me that it could be dangerous to stay in the country. I absolutely didn’t want to be involved in all of this Euromaidan, Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and War in Donbass process. It was a very difficult period in my life – before, during and after the move. But now, after all the difficulties of relocation were left behind, I feel great and seeking to research all new things around me as well as my own roots. I’m sure – this is the beginning of a new chapter in my art practice.
Considering ‘Stomach’ series, ‘Nature Morte’ and the dossiers that you are working on, we see that you are more inclined to technical abstraction than fantastic illustrations. At some point I realized that I no longer need a shape of a body in my compositions to express emotions through it. So I gradually began to refuse figurativeness. It’s an interesting new experience for me. First of all I switch on to simpler forms without any narration. I wanted to find my way to abstraction. I like to discover something new to me on my own and abstraction is something that I’ve never studied before.
“I never call my activities with the word ‘project’, because I never planned it. All my artworks are spontaneous and reflect how do I feel myself right now.”
During recent years you have published 4 books titled Simplification, Hypersensitivity, Pharmacy 24/7 and Hospital. Can you let us know more about why you have chosen these concepts and what they mean to you? I like to show my graphic works in format of self-published book. It helps me to summarize received experience and then to move on. Each book is a compilation of works from a certain period of time, which contains all my researches, emotions and passion from that moment.
What do you want to say about Ukrainian graphic art? Unfortunately we are not very much familiar with artists that deal with these type of works in Ukraine (underground comics or fanzines). Do you have any recommendations to us from North Europe/ Ukrainian Underground Graphics world? I don’t really follow Ukrainian graphic art, actually I doubt it exists in this form. I’ve heard that there was first Ukrainian zine fest, but I have nothing to comment on this point. The situation is not optimistic. I can only say that young artists have become increasingly involved in tattooing. At least, it allows them to earn and travel with tours outside the country. Among others, there is a large collective of tattoo-artists Euthanasia who have many fans both inside and outside the country.
How do you evaluate the art scene in Berlin compared to France? How are the galleries in Berlin displaying alternative works? I don’t feel competent enough to compare it. And I’m not even sure I understand what “alternative works” means. There are so many directions in contemporary art around the world and it is really interesting to me to see absolutely different manifestations of it and how people understand, explain and show what art is. I think it is time for a very individual art.
How is your relationship with literature and other fields of art? While I lived in Ukraine, I watched a lot of movies, especially the arthouse, it helped to somehow escape from the unbearable reality. Also, people in Ukraine love to watch long tv series. After moving, I rarely watch something. But I began to read much more than before.
Are there any projects that you work on right now? I never call my activities with the word ‘project’, because I never planned it. All my artworks are spontaneous and reflect how do I feel myself right now. I just live and create something every day.
Thank you very much for this nice interview.
Thank you for your patience. Best Regards.