Pin Cushions – Interview with Vladimir Radujkov
Vladimir works create intricate environments consisting of short pin-like strokes on canvas. The organic shapes are inviting yet the sharp thorns they consist out of offer a painful surprise. This way the paintings walk a fine line between pain and pleasure, chaos and order, beauty and strangeness.
Here Vladimir answers some questions about how his works come to be, as well as how his work as and with a curator has impacted the exhibition.
You can visit the new exhibition “Pin Cushions” at Chrysalid with paintings by Vladimir Radujkov until the 9 th of April 2022.
Chrysalid Gallery: Has being a curator impacted the way you look at your own work, or impacted what you create?
Vladimir Radujkov: I don’t necessarily consider myself a curator. My background is in fine arts and my passion is creating art. I do however consider myself an artist, and that particular point of view helps me curate the shows from the angle of an artist. Curation and art direction came to me later as an urge to widen my horizon.
Chrysalid Gallery: Setting up the exhibition you worked in close contact with the curator Marth von Loeben, how was this collaboration for you? Would you suggest other artists and curators to work together like this as well?
Vladimir Radujkov: Martina and I actually worked as curators on two projects before my solo. While preparing my exhibition, she approached me the same way as she would any other artist. She was curious to find out about my artistic approach, after which she gave me her very personal insight about my work. We always collaborate really well, and this show was not different in any way. Every artist needs a curator. As an artist you crave the affirmation of a public, I think a good honest curator can help you discover your “good side”. Not much different from a fashion designer and a stylist.
Chrysalid Gallery: Do you create these works with an audience in mind? Or do you have a person or concept in mind that you create these works for or are inspired by?
Vladimir Radujkov: Yes and no. Of course I’m interested to see and hear how the public reacts to the works, it is a two-way street after all, but while working on a piece, my approach is very hermetic. In my case it’s a very personal and intimate process from contemplation to execution of the work. There is no third party in mind.
Chrysalid Gallery: The way your works have been exhibited at Chrysalid Gallery will undoubtedly impact the way they are viewed by the audience, what was your frame of mind to present them as such?
Vladimir Radujkov: They were all created in a certain order, but their juxtaposition was something I worked with Marth the most. For me it was important to show a cohesive collection and connect works which were varying from fully abstract and chaotic ones to the pieces that were less so, more polished and softer in a way. We made a sketch of a setup and after seeing all the paintings in the gallery space we made a few minor but necessary changes. It is very important to have a good connection with the curator, it can make or break the exhibition. It became a very common “thing” that exhibitions are in fact not being curated but rather just assembled, and this lazy, or rather sloppy approach shows, and it doesn’t benefit anyone.
Chrysalid Gallery: Your show at Chrysalid is called Pin Cushions. How did this name come to be, and how does it impact the way your works are viewed? Considering your paintings are abstract but the title insinuates something physical.
Vladimir Radujkov: Marth came up with the exhibition tittle. She sent me her pitch on the name, and I was sold immediately because it really summed up not only their formal qualities and duality of being both hard and soft but also my need to somehow make my work less abstract and give it a physicality they actually need.
Chrysalid Gallery: With your work, you walk a fine line between chaos and order, beauty and strangeness. You also mentioned that everything on the canvas is intentional. How do you maintain this balance?
Vladimir Radujkov: It’s very difficult to answer this question, predominately because my work, although intended, is very visceral and it relies on my instincts. Those instincts have been sharpened during the years, so they don’t allow me anymore to leave a painting unfinished or desert it when it dissatisfies me. It took both time and patience to fine tune them.
Chrysalid Gallery: In the current day and age, how important do you deem the continued collaboration between artists and galleries? Could they even be successful without each other?
Vladimir Radujkov: That depends on the type of an artist. My work benefits from “white and clean” gallery setting where it can be shown the best. There are plenty of artists whose work doesn’t fit gallery needs, due to their size, materiality or simply not being commercially interesting. I did meet quite a lot of my colleagues who wouldn’t want to work with galleries or any institutions of closed type, who wouldn’t want their work to be seen as a commodity with a price attached. That is of course absolutely fine. There are a lot of ways how they can finance their projects and stay independent. I actually support and applaud that.
Chrysalid Gallery: You have a very distinctive visual language; how do you generally build up your paintings, from the very start to the final details?
Vladimir Radujkov: Well, during the process of rediscovering myself I came to a realisation that the only constant element of my work is the line. To put it more precisely, thousands of lines. I slowly started stripping the work from what I define as unnecessary extras and made it look rather raw. The “buildup” of the painting comes in layers from rough repetitions at its beginning, to a fine one that complete the image and gives it finer and softer touch. Drawing exists as a strong contour that builds and defines the structure of my paintings. It is always present, strong and it varies from parallelism to a free, almost baroque structure of thick organic lines. I'm using repetition in order to create a vivacious linear shadow play, which adds to an overall dynamic of the works. The lines range from very long to very short almost comma like, and I use them to edit the chaos and establish order in composition of the painting.