Meme-like algorithms and senseless perception locked in emotions: recalling the absurd with curator Kristina Dobrokotova4 min read

 In Culture, Interview, Russia
Lossi 36 sits down with artist and art curator Kristina Dobrokotova. Dobrokotova is a Kalmyk creative that helped curate Kalmykia’s first contemporary art exhibition, called Mu, which was on view October 3rd to 5th at the Amur-Sanan National Library in Elista. This is just one of the conversations with artists from our new exhibit, Kalmyk Contemporary

Tell me about the process of curating the exhibit, Mu, and why it was so timely to get contemporary Kalmyk artists together for this exhibition.

The idea of the exhibition firstly came to Vika and Gerel Puteeva. I was so lucky to have the chance to meet them! The girls were eager to show modern Kalmyk artists to the public. To be honest, I’ve had the same idea in my mind for some time to create something similar, something that could connect Kalmyk artists with contemporary visual tendencies. 

I think the name “Mu” is the perfect choice for the first shot of bringing together contemporary Kalmyk artists, as it translates as “bad” in Kalmyk. Because of the mysterious beliefs surrounding hoodoo in our culture, the naming was the most suitable for this occasion. 

As one of the organizers, I wanted to use this platform to say a huge thank you to the administration at the National Kalmyk Library of Amur-Sanan, TODO Media [an online Kalmyk Media Company)] and others. The Library was a perfect venue for this kind of artistic activity. Regretfully, I was not able to attend the exhibition while it was on view. I was able to connect online and provide digital support. As I could see, there were about twenty-one to twenty-three attendees and visitors and so many positive reviews from young artists and the press. In my opinion, it is ALWAYS time to show the public some really good artists with brilliant works and generate artistic dialogue. 

What was your experience curating and working on Mu?

This was my first time curating, I was pretty excited and wanted to give it my best. Due to family issues, I was not able to help my co-organizers in person, however, I tried to help in any way – like making posters, and coming up with original typography. As an artist, that was equally exciting. I used my marketing and public relations talents to showcase this event in a positive, inclusive, and accessible way.

Talk to us about the low-brow humor in Pooping is hard

I like Pooping is hard because this piece portrays the balance between meme-like algorithms and senseless perception locked in emotions like laughing and giggling or condemnation and disapproval. For me, this picture is more humanistic and “alive” than anything in the digital world. It calls upon the aktionistisch [action], an idea I have been playing with for some time.

What is the symbolism in Toad?

The Toad symbolism is pretty straightforward as well. I like the image pulsating or “rocking” like a lightning bolt, visually striking the storm of emotions. The toad is called Gawk, because as it opens its mouth as wide as it can, great lightning comes out of the fingers. It’s all about feelings that rock us and come out like a natural disaster. 

Face masks are popular in other contemporary Kalmyk artistry, including your own. Explain the imagery behind using a face mask in Acne Positive.

I’m not sure if the mark in Acne Positive is related to oriental folk face masks, but that is an interesting point of view. For me, it is all about inner insecurities that could be shown to other people but forcefully, purposefully. Acne is just one example. You can always hide it, try to wear a mask, however you know about it and people will know about it too. Also, it is all about taboo subjects because it’s not that common – it creates a dialogue about inner fears and points of powerlessness. 

What was your inspiration behind Human

The main inspiration came from Sevdaliza’s discography. I fancy her music and her lyrics are always taking me away. Talking about physical boundaries that are split or in the process of splitting is an interesting topic and I wanted to share my experience with the public.  

You can follow Kristina Dobrokotova’s work on Instagram and view Lossi 36’s virtual exhibit, Kalmyk Contemporary

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