A student of time and space arts, Andrey Bogush, 28, has a knack for intuitively experimenting with photography and retouching programs, leading to a commission to create the backgrounds of the Prada SS15 campaign. We talk to the Saint Petersburg-born and Helsinki-based young artist about how we see things on a retinal level, the contradictory forces that trigger his creative process, and his fascination with how we control images and where they end up.
Sleek: What exactly encompass your studies in time and space arts?
Andrey Bogush: In reality, it includes everything else than more traditional subdivisions of departments of sculpture, painting and printmaking. They established the department in the 90s with the certain expectation that all other departments would be merging into that more expansive and open department. That actually didn’t happen that way. Now we have even more subdivisions in the department of Time and Space Arts: Photography, Moving Image and Site and Situation Specific Arts.
Your artistic education has been carried out in Finland. Why have you chosen this as your base? And how does it propel your work forward?
I do not think that my artistic education was too much influenced by the specific national institutions. I feel that I got much more inspired by the internet/social media/random seminars and people. I would say, one of the most beneficial parts for me at the academy now is that it gives me enough freedom to take long residences abroad and time to work on my own projects.
You previously studied psychology. How did that affect your art?
During that time (that was almost 8 or 9 years ago), I got interested in psychology of perception and cognitive studies. How something is seen – on retinal level and, let’s say, on conceptual level. What was the history of the image, and how the whole thing becomes inseparable from the context of production and consumption of the art works. In that sense, I see my (especially early) works as formal studies of color-object-background relations through the lens-based media.
It is often understood that art is a very personal endeavor with an autobiographical aspect to it. What element of your work would you say describes your persona?
Might be my tempo of doing things, which has lots of long periods of not doing anything and then fast rapid cycles. Also, some kind of rejection is there – the whole process more or less has the tendency to preserve, to delete and to escape. But the whole process also merges with materials, formal structures, contexts, and chances – too many contradictory forces.
With the combination of smartphones and a high abundance of user-friendly image editing programs, photography has become a highly accessible medium. How do you think photography is evolving? Where does it go from here?
I think this high accessibility is a bit of an upside down term. Paper and pencil have been in a way much more accessible for few centuries already. Concerning photography – I think it’s a highly specific medium that changed the whole way how one deals with image making and consumption, nostalgia and memories. That aspect is enormously interesting. It evolves in the sense of how we take images and especially in how we distribute them and where they end up. What is the interface of these processes and what is the speed of that total flow. The field is enormously large and I feel that potentialities are somehow on the borders of it: Instagram imagery, Tumblr, social media, or let’s say image searches on Google that collide with internet art, scientific research and interest of institutions and money. At the same time, it all happens on the territories of software/environments dominated by big corporations. The real question is what could evolve from it either on terrains of subjectivity, aesthetics or politics?
Where do you go from here? In which direction will you continue with your digital interventions?
My work is mainly process-based and triggered by medium and ways of distribution or consumption. I also get tired very quickly of the same things, stable methods and established ways. That’s why I don’t make specific predictions about this. The work usually has to be adapted, rasterised, or shifted based on the new location/final material. Files are just the mid-stages of my works until they are turning into public but they are an essential part of the whole process. Recently, I was invited to make a show in the Finnish Museum of Photography in Helsinki in May 2016. Let’s see what the space and context would require there.
Text by Magdalena Torres
Andrey Bogush’s “Proposals”, curated by Aleksandr Blanar, is at Osnova gallery, Moscow, until 25 January 2016