Steven Rensovoux : Hello Boris, and congratulations on your winning Art Registry World Artist Grant. How it feels?
Boris Zoubkous : Thank you, I am still in shock. It feels great!
Steven Rensovoux : The theme that you submitted for the ARW Grant consideration was "I SURVIVED ART",- tell us more about it.
Boris Zoubkous : "I SURVIVED ART " is a product of many years of trying to survive in art and life - physically, mentally, spiritually.
Being an immigrant artist who came from USSR to US with $200 and worked on most crazy jobs possible just trying to make ends
meet for many years, loosing art works due to moving from place to place, no storage, natural disasters (100 of my works were
destroyed by a flood), having no money or any support, I was still creating art works, believing and surviving. The conceptual part of
"I SURVIVED ART" is also kind of "above the battle view" of contemporary art world, where Art History, personal effort, emotions,
struggle, money can play a very devastating role in the life of the artist, so for me, besides just physical/economical survival being an
artist is sharply and dominantly a spiritual survival. How you can love something that for many years does not pay back, challenges
you emotionally, socially (I am speaking about being an artist) and stay sane, strong, persuing? Love is the answer.
: Does Russian Art oeuvre plays a role in your perception of the Art World, Art History and your place in it?
Petrov- Vodkin, Mayakovsky, etc.etc.etc) Russian artists and philosophers shaped most of the conceptual and aesthetic principles of
Modern and Conceptual Art in the World that other artists are still using/revolting/musing/re-constructing the Art and the World
thanks to the enormous Russian influence. So the Russian soul (very broad and deep sensitivity and sensibility ) forms me as a
person and as an artist. Also I did spend last 20 years in US and was influenced by Western Art, I am feeling the edge of being
contemporary artist as a World Artist.
Steven Rensovoux : Tell us about your technique of creating "I SURVIVED ART" works, also "I SURVIVED INFORMATION" and my
personal favorite "HAPPY ART HISTORY!" artworks.
Boris Zoubkous : I have consciously chosen psycho-neurotic, geometry controlled, slow pacing art work creation technique. Actually
every picture of the themes you've mentioned is a scream, emotional statement, outburst, desperate smart assness, but cought up
in a monotonous, slowly unfolding mosaic gluing structure, kind of a slow scream, extended in space, time and beyond. I needed that
tension of an explosion wrapped in a blotting paper, very methodical despair, on the brink of the rapture of creating. Kind of slow
motion volcano erupting video, played backwards. Every step is ballanced, controlled : from cutting out mosaic shapes, trimming,
fitting, calculating, mixing my own glue, but meta controlled by spiritual and subconscious energy. Kind of like boiling ice. When I
glue the mosaic shapes, I only use bare hands- the sensetivity is crucial, every shape is placed in its location with effort, patience,
calculation and rational control, but with the scale breaking feelings and emotional load. My fingers are horribly soar, with the skin
peeling/ripping from the dried glue, fresh glue, constant washing hands, horrible skin irritation, small wounds and skin cracks. The
build up of the glue on the fingers,- the theme of slowing down, torment, scream , - surviving continues. I've tried working in gloves or
with tweezers, - no feelings, no emotions, - like operating a dead body. I do need the surface/material resistance, hurting and
overcoming, enduring and surviving. That is why I want the audience to understand and most importantly feel (feeling is the highest
form of understanding) the process and controlled torment or tormented control involved in creation of these art works. I want
viewers to feel (not just see) beyond the material surface of my artworks. Chaos multiplied by chaos creates harmony for me. So, I
kind of create a spiritual Solitaire with the material energy of mosaic shapes and spiritual energy of expression.
Steven Rensovoux : There is humour and wounded humanism in your art works, where they come from?
Boris Zoubkous: I always felt and feel connected to the much bigger super energies like Nature and God, and being human - learning,
struggling, surviving - I always feel the dialectics, as I called it - catastrophic cuteness of the world, hence the interplay of meanings
tensions in my art works.
Tiny example : my work " LOOK IT",- this is how onomatopoetically children in poor Manhattan schools where I've tought Art for
say "Look at it" or "Look at this". These kids are naive, exalted and serious at the same time when they say "LOOK IT !" , - this is a
portrait of an artist for me : you are trying to drive attention to what you show in your art work, while being naive, exalted and serious,
the poignant humor, philosophical humanism and paradoxical optimism in my art.
Boris Zoubkous, Artist. 2016