Beyond the flesh: A dialogue with Vova Kupyansky and his wife, Natasha.

With: Juan Pablo Torres Muñiz
In each painting, a radiance. Glows, laughter’s echoes, tinklings; the last horizon, nonetheless, looks thick, with muted colors: something is carrying them away. Once and again, the swift play of contrasts invites to fall into a trap: to hasten with a too simple judgment.
In between his works, Vova smiles, very cordially. But now we´re adding a third voice: his wife has joined us. With her serene tone, not without a spark, though. The lighting strike of a wing against the ear, the cane on the pit of the stomach; and when we finally recover, a tiny bubbling in the glass…

They got tired of asking me whether there is anything else besides frequent bold revealed flesh, which is still present in just about every single piece of my work. Core motif, in one word. I have been questioned about it not once and not twice. I remained emphatically silent – I seem smarter this way. But ultimately this nagging question made me ponder myself as to what indeed is in my works. Apart from the aforecited flesh. After long, heavy and fruitless thinking, in the result of which I still could understand nothing about my painting and its role in contemporary art, I made up my mind to readdress this accursed question to my wife, hence she is surely real smart.
It did not take long for the answer to arrive.
Core motif that penetrates all of your picturesque works represents different stages of developing life disaster. Even if oftentimes its formal signs are still far away, and there are flowers and sex in the air, but the future fiasco of your characters is already inevitably dissolved in it…
Vova, always questioning, provoking while painting, turns around. Maybe that which has been said…
No, you do not want to say that life is a piece of shit, that all women are whores, and the sun is a fucking lantern. You are far from such life hating generalizations. It is just that all of your characters (who for no obvious reasons have appeared from the depths of your subconscious mind) – all, without exception, are psychos. After all, life of such priorates cannot be happy and cloudless, even if they are quite happy with themselves at the moment.
(I remember now some notes, that very first time I saw his work:
On the one hand: Amidst mundane reeks, this thing particularized (notwithstanding the debatable term) as the heightened: From authentic and fertile searches of transcendence unto sophisticated studies and contemplations duly conducted by a guide-instructor of orientalist’s cares & hired for the moment, and in-between, pastimes of the most specialized kinds, with nothing to remark, unless the laughable act of posing before a small circle… On the other hand: True problems, invincible issues; the flesh. How much is revealed once we divest ourselves from citizenship, in darkness (figuratively speaking), in solitude with our intestines, in-between the sheets, barefoot on the floor, below the illusion of an emptiness, as if a thousand more consciences, in the same way hidden between walls, with the utilities’ bills already payed, do not play the same game.)
Here, frankly speaking, I was quite surprised to find out how sharp and profound I turned out to be.
In essence, all of your works are about how off-key can a man be in his relations with himself and the world. And this man is so similar to you…
Yes, I now sense that it was too early to rejoice.
He prompts a reference of the character from the same perspective employed by him… From the melancholy of the looks, the solitude; from the sharpness of the upper forms… like towers, with hesitant upper stories, in the clean air of their altitude; the bellies, inevitable disposed to the terrestrial (the most real); and the fleshy thighs that, nontheless… are far from the ideal … All is painted as tragedy… or comedy, according to each one’s viewpoint.
I said “a man”, but at that in your paintings that person is most often is a woman. A woman is also a person, isn’t she?
She is boring a hole right through me.
Probably, I should have explained this sexual disproportion. For fairness’ sake, I can say that men happen to be the characters of my paintings as well…
But women – out of proportion more often…
It’s easier to give shape to a masculine character by reference to its actions, its labors and, lately, its decisions, even the past ones. In the case of feminine characters, the value of its mystery is determining; thus, a great part if its force can be glimpsed through that which they may provoke, so to say, in an inexplicable manner, apart form reason. The simplest of these motives is, of course, beauty, but the true scope of these motives is almost boundless…
Well, I can explain it…
Here you must say that a woman as a reason, epicenter and at the same time a victim of her own LIFE disaster is far more grateful object than a man. Aforementioned by me flaws and features of your characters’ personality make a man the vanity, and his story fatal and not fun, hence a woman in the same circumstances looks simply as… a sweet fool?
Why right away a fool?!
In general, this difference between a man and a woman can be easily explained by their psychic nature (those stamps that exist in this regard). It is so easy and habitual to sympathize with a woman. And also to provoke, humiliate and make fun of, right?
You are overly serious today. As a person who loves women with all my manhood…
And because of your artistic nature preferring to ruin the comedy, you are not capable of creating anything else. High drama in your presentation always turns into a mockery. Although, if truth be told, I must say that lately you are not as “funny” as before.
And how would you explain this? Am I getting better?
As a person? No, fat chance! You have simply switched your character.
(Before her smile, some other lines about Vova’s taunting come back:
To pay attention to the milieu, the scenery of drama. The allusion to comfort is an invitation.
In the city, with most of basic needs already attended, i.e., immediate preservation guaranteed, and each individual alone, by him/herself, the search for transcendence (this kind for answer to the so-called death drive) manifests entirely in a sort of need hard to satiate… By means of the flesh, in and with the other. And here to reach to pass the bench of ridicule turns into a complicated business… without a good dose of taunting.
Then what a tremendous roll do play love, passion, the search of the spiritual Me…, the struggle (only image, attention) for clothing the self or painting the own wall with the colors of the current cause!… And this is so because flesh is communion, sensitive to the mass, which often does ferment…)
If earlier the formal heroine of your paintings was yet another psychopath, and you were leaving yourself beyond the composition brackets exclusively in the role of a smart ass spectator, then now you yourself has become an informal hero of your paintings, in other words, you are not indifferent anymore to what is happening on the canvas, which means it is no longer funny to you and is acquiring the features of, although, truthfully speaking, still filled with your doubtful sense of humor, but a drama already. Generally speaking: hello, middle-age crisis!
Yes, but not totally.
Yes, but now you are finally becoming an artist. Now you are not so funny, but…so interesting!
New issues. With each character… To each character…
(Translation by Roberto Zeballos Rebaza)

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