In the “Garage” opens the exhibition “Evidence” that represents three artists: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein and Robert Longo. Engravings of Goya, fragments all its movies and its graphics and drawings Longo here enter into an unusual dialog. Robert Longo, American schedule and the film johnny Mnemonic, one of the main paintings in the style of cyberpunk, acts as not only a participant but also a co-curator (together with Kate Fowle of the project. On the eve of the opening of the exhibition Igor Gulin talked to him about the role of the artist in different eras, art and politics and about the images that remain eternal despite the changes of technology
In this exhibition you like to choose two father figure. What’s your relationship with Eisenstein and with Goya?
I think art history is something like a tool that allows the artist to create. It can be thought of as a ladder. Here, Goya, Eisenstein here. I get up on those stages to get to where we are.
Photo: Robert Longo / Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
And yet, despite a common history of art, this neighborhood looks a little eccentric. Goya — especially the artist anxiety and Eisenstein, on the contrary, enthusiastic. You have the same art — something between these two feelings. How would you connect them?
This exhibition is something of a pastiche, a collage. This is a clash. Here have two cars, but when they collide, there is a third thing — a crash. So here, to go from Goya to Eisenstein, you have to go through me. But they are actually a lot of similarities — for example, how they paid for the opportunity to do as they had to grovel for it. Artists who wanted to create large canvases had to work on either the Church or the kings. To remove Soviet films had to work for the government.
And you don’t think that Eisenstein otherwise would not exist? To some extent, the ideology and made it the art of the possible.
I think it’s still in the media. To make a movie or a huge canvas, with the necessary financial support. The artist uses the ideology to pay for their art. I don’t think that I was as much of a Communist. Previously I did not pay attention to the political nature of his films, only later learned that they were used as a means of repression. But first and foremost great movies. Therefore, at the exhibition we slow down, we remove all the credits.
That is, you leave them only the form? Pure image?
It. After all, they are brilliant. It’s not just propaganda.
But in your art there is a certain ideological component. Or you just want to make beautiful things?
No, of course I have political views. I create art because I see things that bother me. For example, a fighter with my drawings. Incredibly beautiful things, but they are created to bring death. It does bother me.
I think this is yet another important object of reference for art — equipment. You seem to have always been interested in metaphysics equipment — from cyberpunk johnny Mnemonic” to the drawings of weapons, fighters. But the technique, the medium and associated with religion and politics?
you Know, when I was working on a series of “Divine machines”, I came to the conclusion that religion was the first great technology. Because the machine is needed in order to move us without having to move. This is what makes religion. Technique in this sense, offers nothing new. I do like the idea of new ideas is actually there. Just the forms change. I sometimes think, I wonder, would be the Goya to make films if he had the chance. He has a pattern very similar to storyboards. Or here are my fighters. They’re not much different from military images of Eisenstein or Goya. The same war, and people haven’t changed much. This constancy worries me, actually, most of my work is the result of this concern.
But it is concern to you is always very sexually suggestive. Your fighters or bombs — they are extremely attractive. This is the first thing you notice.
Yes, it is very important orgasmic moment. The time being. I want to create images that re-occur every time you look at them.
Robert Longo. “Untitled (Russian fighter su-30)”, 2012
Photo: Private collection, Switzerland
This is a very cinematic idea. And is very close to Eisenstein. It was just interested in the sexual component of the film. This is due to your own experience?
I only got one great film. I wanted to make a film for a million dollars. But the money I had, so I had to find producers, and as a result I made a film for twenty-five million. But these people constantly prevented me from taking the movie, so the movies I no longer do. Just don’t want to deal with the Hollywood idiots. They are like new the Vatican. If you want to work on the Church, you have to tell the same story. And if you work in Hollywood, you too, all the time telling the same story.
But “johnny Mnemonic” undermines the standard form of Hollywood history. He seems to be made on the model of blockbuster, but you ruin it a little.
But that’s about half of what I wanted to do. I wanted to make the film in black and white as “Alphaville” Godard. But the money I was willing to give just for the color. I then took the problem of congestion of consciousness information. I grew up in the early 1960s during the heyday of television. And the idea of images that uncontrollably burst into your life, I am very worried. In the movie it all came in a very abbreviated form. But working with it I realized how great it is to be an artist: nobody tells you what to do.
I think this idea of information, forcibly uploaded into the brain, very important in your art. For example, the same fighter: they seem to be images that are lodged in us on a subconscious level. But their source — it is media.
When I finished the film, I did a series of works called “Magellan”. Such a journey around the year, three hundred sixty-six drawings — drawing a day. Each image from the media. This was before the Internet, 1996. I thought that all these images penetrate into us every day, quietly, unnoticed, and we have no idea what they do to us. I read Jung and then a lot of thinking about the images of the collective unconscious. And was looking for a way how these unconscious images to portray.
This brings us back to Goya. It turns out these images — a kind of monster, which produces the sleep of reason.
Exactly. I even stole his name for his two series. When I was painting the waves, they were called “Monsters”, a bomb I call it a “Disease of the mind”, referring to Goya. On the first bomb me inspired Goya’s “Colossus” giant from which people flee. It looks like an atomic explosion. Amazing.
“Certificates”. ISI “Garage”, until February 5