This is 5 Questions. Each week, we send five questions to an artist featured in Under the Radar, our weekly email highlighting the best art on the ArtSlant network. This week we seek answers from Katya Grokhovsky.
What are you trying to communicate with your work?
As a child, I had difficulty in expressing myself verbally, so I used drawing and movement as a way to display my vision to the world. I am still doing that today, utilizing my art to communicate the often invisible, absurd, grotesque, and difficult aspects of human experience as it pertains specifically to a female immigrant person, which is what I inhabit.
I am interested in politics of protest to the prescribed notions of earthly existence, through exposure and analysis of the monstrous, the dangerous, the unwanted, the hidden, the ignored, the fragile, discarded and disappeared, lost and underestimated. I mine the daily battlefields of domesticity, human relations, power hierarchy, labor, loneliness, failures, ambitions, emotions, desires and dreams, autobiographically and through observation.
By employing my art as a language, I attempt to activate my ideas through visual and performative codes via the use of objects, my own body, gestures, text, voice, sound, materials, time, space, and site. My work tends to surprise and haunt me all the time and I am in constant dialogue with myself and the universe through it.
Temporary Habitat, 2017, Mixed media, found objects, video, performance. Variable
What is an artist’s responsibility?
I believe it is an artist’s responsibility to question the way the world functions, in all of its aspects, from the mundane and banal minutia of daily life and struggles, to the tragic, political, personal, dramatic, grandiose, and triumphant. To be fully aware and awake, to listen, look, analyze and critique, to push the limits and boundaries of yourself and your audience. Perhaps, to possess a unique sense of place in the world, of an observant outsider, looking on and in, to be curious, to see and understand the underside, the underbelly, the beauty and ugliness, to peek beyond the frontiers, the facades, the masks. To dissect the dogmas, conditioning, and systems we are governed by and born into, to transform, to rebel, to live a life as an artist, to oppose the norm, the society, the establishment.
Show us the greatest thing you ever made (art or not)?
Bad Woman, 2017
My art is what I truly do best in life and I believe one of my recent works is the greatest thing I have made to date. A culmination of numerous previous works, research, experimentation, and observation, Bad Woman is a performance for video, which was created initially for a solo installation of the same name in Australia this year, and has now grown into much larger series. Filmed on location in my parents’ backyard in Melbourne, Australia, where we first migrated to from Ukraine in the 90s, the work somehow captures both the wildness and slight absurd grittiness of Australia and the immigrant, as well as art-historical displacement. It combines many of the mediums I work with, such as found objects, installation, video, costumes, and performance and employs humor as a transcendent medium.
Tell us about a work you want to make but never will:
The work I want to make will dismantle the patriarchy and rebuild the world. I will never make this in my lifetime or many lifetimes after this one, but I will practice in the meantime. Ever since I awoke to my reality as a living woman on this earth, I understood I will never be free, especially internally. My lifetime project is to basically de-condition and decolonize my own mind and body, and through that, the rest of the world. How long can the planet survive under the patriarchal rule? We are all to blame for its gradual demise and debasement and I would like to smash the failing system with my art—or die trying. In the meantime, all I can do is chip away at a stone.
Who are three artists we should know but probably don’t?
Shay Arick, an artist from Israel, living in New York, who works with many mediums and explores and critiques ideas of masculinity and social taboos.
Deborah Castillo, a Venezuelan artist, based in Brooklyn, who dissects ideas of patriarchal power through performance, video, and sculpture.
Kate Power, a multidisciplinary artist and writer, based in Adelaide, Australia, who deconstructs social human relations and dynamics.
—The ArtSlant Team
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(Image at top: Bad Woman, 2017, Video still)