An interview with Anastasia Savinova
Russian born artist Anastasia Savinova is now based in Sweden creating architectural masterpieces through digital processing. The artist's work is constantly circling around juxtapositions; the house and nature, walking to find new landscapes and digital rendering to create the images, the documented photographs processed together to make something unnatural.
"Tell us a bit about you as an artist."
I like thinking about artists as shamans. There is something raw and religious about the art making process. I think all the artists are possessed and it’s a pure joy looking at the artist at work. I hope I am like that too.
"Can you talk to us about the themes of your work? What inspires you to create?"
My practice revolves mainly around spirit and memory of the place and ecology and the relationship with more-than-human world. The first theme is rooted in my background as an architect. This part of my practice explores authenticity of the place. Through building imaginative surreal spaces, I tell a story of the real ones. So this work is a documentary and a fiction at the same time. My other focus is on ecologies and the relationship of the human with the more-than-human world. In several projects I explore the relationship between human and mountain, human and forest, human and water, human and proximate and distant others. I’m interested in how everything is intertwined and how we always are a part of something greater. I’m inspired by being on a journey, by seeing, smelling and touching the world. It’s not necessarily a far-away journey, it can be the same river bank over and over, and it’s a new journey every time.
"You describe yourself as a multi-diciplinary artist, can you elaborate on this?"
In my practice I work with different media: photography, drawing, rubbing, video, sound, performance, found object, text and sculpture and so on. I love the flexibility of this. There is always room for experiment and play. I truly admire artists who are able to focus on something specific, let’s say printmaking, and work with it the entire life and improve and learn every single aspect of this. I’m myself never clear with definitions. There is a lot of fun and spontaneity, but also some challenges in that, of course. One day I want to dance and the next day I want to make sculptures. It happens that sometimes I don’t get done either and get frustrated. But I “trust the journey” and want to keep this flexibility and naïve curiosity.
"How does Sweden influence the work you create."
It’s hard to tell. The time is rather slow here, and I need that for some part of my work. But I don’t see any major influences. The main thing is always within, regardless the place. Surroundings do affect us in some ways, but the main thing, the core, is still independent of the place. Sweden feels like a safe harbor where I always return after the journeys to sit at my big table by the window, settle and process the findings.
"Do you photograph all the elements of your work yourself, what is the process of creating an art piece for you?"
I photograph all the elements of my work myself. It is very important for me to be present physically in the place, experience it, be with it. I believe that this is the only possible way to be able to tell a story about the place. The process of creating a piece starts with a journey. It’s never a journey for the sake of creating a new work. It’s a journey for the sake of journey. The art work follows as a personal way of preserving the feeling and the memory of the visited place. So, I would say the journey and being with the place is the crucial part. The rest is technicalities. I come back to the studio and start going through all the pictures I took to allocate the patterns, select the elements that are necessary to talk about this particular site, the elements that I found true and authentic for the place. Then I start “building” from those elements. The process is long and messy and super illogical. I move, add, remove, do, redo, pixel-shift until I feel that I myself believe the picture. It’s sort of a fight (as any creative process). It’s full of fun also. But it’s still a fight, up until the moment when you fell “yes, this it is, it has finally fallen into the right place”.