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  • Camille Basso

Taisia Korotkova, “My creative process is like scientific research”

Painter, designer, science aficionado… Taisia Korotkova shapes her art around the relationship between science and human society. From Russia to Sweden, Austria and Belgium, via Italia and Hungary, her works questions the spectator about contemporary physics, space exploring, nuclear heritage and new technologies in human reproduction. In February 2024, some of her paintings were exhibited at the Lille Art Up fair, in France, thanks to Compiègne’s Galerie de l’Est. Prior to this, we had the pleasure and honor to interview her about her creative process, her inspirations and her future projects.

Oeuvre NORTH, Série "Closed Russia", Taisia Korotkova (Gracieuseté)
Taisia Korotkova, NORTH, "Closed Russia" Series, 2013 (Gracieuseté)

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your work?

Taisia Korotkova : I graduated from Moscow Academy of Arts and the Institute for Contemporary Art at the same time. So my task was to combine two different kinds of knowledge, classical academic education and the ideas of contemporary art. I studied painting and graphic arts. I decided to find a way to use all of these techniques in contemporary art. At first glance, it seems that everything is already done. Painting has a huge history. But I think that there are still some possibilities for painting to be developed.

What message are you trying to convey through your art?

T.K. : Actually, I don't like to send messages through my art, because very often, it seems like propaganda for me. And I am a bit tired of propaganda, as a former Soviet citizen. So I think that it's more interesting to ask questions about contemporary life and to make the spectator think about these questions. I think that it's important not to give ready solutions.

The aesthetics of the scientific world are often found in your work. What is it that attracts you about it?

T.K. : Yes, yes. I find the world of science, the aesthetics of the world of science interesting, attractive, beautiful and horrible at the same time. There is ambiguity in this world and I think that it's not elaborated in the art world completely. There are still many things which we do not perceive as artistic, for example, scientific schemes. They're functional and beautiful at the same time. The visual aspect of science attracts me a lot and every time I go to some websites about the future technologies or micro photography, I admire the visual part as well as the subject.

And as you like to ask questions through your art, would you say you try to ask questions about technology and science?

T.K. : Of course. Because science and knowledge in general, it's a huge power and people need to think how to use this power. It's a general question. Because it can be super dangerous, but it can help at the same time. So, every time, we need to decide how we use technology and science.

Oeuvre Série "Dark Forest", Taisia Korotkova, (Gracieuseté)
Taisia Korotkova, "Dark Forest" Series, 2020 (Gracieuseté)

What is your creative process?

T.K. : My creative process is like scientific research because as I said previously, I have an academic education. I start with challenging the topic, challenging the subject. Then I collect material to see the references both in science and in art, in the history of art. So I make a kind of investigation about the topic and then I start to make sketches to write some sentences for the future text about the project. Then, it depends on the material. When I do an egg tempera painting, I prepare gesso ground, make colours with pigments and egg, etc. I prepare sketches, I do preparational drawing, then I paint. Then I cover this paint with oil. This technique is equal to European painting of the early Renaissance, or icon painting. If I make watercolour, I also do many preparational sketches, because with watercolour it's even harder, the final work has to be fresh, so you need to be well prepared to make the final piece.

How have you shaped your style?

T.K. : I like to play with the classical ways of painting. I was a big fan of Renaissance when I was a child. From my childhood, I always wanted to learn how to paint, how to draw like these artists. I'm still in this process, of course. I also use the language of scientific illustration or black and white drawing of the early 20th century. I am also interested in monumental art of the 20th century. For example, I recently started to learn Mexican art because I find it very attractive and very interesting. And so on. For every new project I try to find a language which will connect with the subject of the work in the best way.

How has your practice evolved over time?

T.K. : I think that, at the beginning, my art was more realistic. As a young artist, I was restricted by some rules after finishing university. And now I would say I am free. Now, I can do whatever I want.

Oeuvre My brother, Taisia Korotkova, 2004 (Gracieuseté)
Taisia Korotkova, My brother, 2004 (Gracieuseté)

What are your future projects?

T.K. : I started a new project last year. It's called “Imagined Destinations”. First, I showed this project in Turin in a nonprofit space called Cripta 747, together with Margherita Morgantin. The title of the exhibition was “Glittering landscapes” and it was curated by Alessandra Franetovich. Then I showed it in Genoa and Milan with the Canepaneri gallery in a group show “While the vertebrae of time continues to spin”  together with Gillian Brett and Arseny Zhilyaev, the exhibition was also curated by Alessandra Franetovich.  At the same time I inaugurated a personal exhibition in France, in Compiegne, “Imagined Destinations. Arret “Foret de Compiegne” with the catalogue and text by Paul Ardenne at Galerie De L’Est. Now I'm going to continue this project at the artistic residency in Pacsa, in Hungary. This project is about the possibilities of the future. Perhaps it’s utopical, but I think that it's important to imagine better ways of coexistence. It speaks about the world where human beings and technologies and nature can live in peace and collaboration.

Thank you to Taisia Korotkova for her time, and to Compiègne’s Galerie de l’Est for giving us the opportunity to meet such a great artist!


About the artist

Taisia Korotkova’s works are part of the collections of MMOMA, Moscow's Tretyakov National Gallery, Uppsala Konstmuseum, Uppsala Municipality, Republic of Austria, IRRA Moscow, German Titov Collection, Smirnov & Sorokin Foundation. She is a participant in Utopia Lille 3000, "Novacene" project curated by Alice Audouin.

Oeuvre Fau de Verzy, Série "Destinations Imaginaires", Taisia Korotkova, 2023 (Gracieuseté)
Taisia Korotkova, Fau de Verzy, "Imagined Destinations" Series, 2023 (Gracieuseté)
Oeuvre Dry Tree, Série "Destinations Imaginaires", Taisia Korotkova, 2023 (Gracieuseté)
Taisia Korotkova, Dry Tree, "Imagined Destinations" Series, 2023 (Gracieuseté)

Oeuvre Technology, Taisia Korotkova, 2007 (Gracieuseté)
Taisia Korotkova, Technology, 2007 (Gracieuseté)

Oeuvre Taisia Korotkova, Cesarian Section, Série Reproduction, 2010 (Gracieuseté)
Taisia Korotkova, Cesarian Section, "Reproduction" Series, 2010 (Gracieuseté)


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