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Interview with the artists MishMash about their exhibition "Akmensrockstein" at Maxim Boxer Gallery

"MishMash is not only a coincidence of our names Misha and Masha, but also a one-word explanation of what we dedicate our artistic practice to. Subjects of our art are chaos and order, collections of unimportant things, transferring the data into abstraction, inventArt, forest actionism, prosthesis of reality, compulsive counting and observation. The wars, violence, discrimination, hate - are always here. So we do not portray day to day events in our art, we are trying to address the core of human nature." - Artist statement.

How did your journey to the art world begin?

MASHA: Our joint journey to the art world led us to live together. When we just met we started immediately inventing different objects.

MASHA: I think my journey was launched when I was 6, and we walked in the park along the river with my dad. We found a very long green aluminum tape in the snow, and I decided it was essential to drug it all the way, the whole walk. I think it was my first performance.

MISHA: I think that I would like to skip this question as it takes me to the times very long distances from the present. Those times on the plato of Brezhnev’s reign were quite different from now. For me as a child, one of the strongest esthetical impressions of that time was the total sameness of surrounding reality. There were about 4 or 5 coat designs available on the market, one type of sports shoes “kedi” until “crossovki” showed up thanks to the Olympic games in Moscow. I perfectly remember the moment I was walking by the street to my art school and suddenly realized that people around me were mostly dressed similarly. I felt quite disgusted by this situation realizing the strangeness and pervertness of this estetical situation.

What are some topics you like to explore?

MASHA: Chaos and order, repetitions and compulsive counting, human and mold behavior, collections and observations.

MISHA: We pursue the aim of creating our works where art made by the author merges with some other kind of intervention. This side power could be just anything and could prove itself by any kind of media.

The title of this exhibition is Akmensrockstein, where does that come from?


MISHA: Rocks are the letters of the landscape. Each pebble is a unit in the code describing the general picture and also its own story lasting thousands or millions of years. This language nature of pebbles brought us to this name. We also think of this title as someone’s name Akmens Rockstein.


What do you find most fascinating about this particular artwork and the process of making it?

MASHA: Power of the Time. Time turns the shock into a routine, it is fascinating how you sometimes struggle to push it through yourself and how sometimes it softens the sharp edges, how everything around us counts time from something to something. Repetition of the same thing is magic. The appearance of a copy changes the original, changes its original meaning.

MISHA: The code mentioned above - rocks are the letters of the whole picture and a multi-thousand-year story hidden inside and revealed on the surface of each rock.

Paper is the most frequent material you use in this particular exhibition, why did you go with this medium?

MISHA: Paper is the opposite matter to rock. And by the way, it wins the rock in the Rock-paper-scissors game.


In the second part (suspended days of waiting for a visa) of “COUNTING DOWN TIME WITH STONES“ the exhibited artworks are attached to the wall with pins. Why did you choose to go with displaying the “stones” like that?

MASHA: This is a time when we, as many others find ourselves detached from the background. This can be painful but at the same time, you can find freedom in this suspension and detachment, or at least this is what we are trying to do.

So the logic of the situation dictates a form of art - the first part of the work - is a roll of paper, there the stones\days depicted on certain places, it’s 90 days of our legal stay in EU, allowed by our passport. The second part of the work - days of waiting for the visa, when we were not here not there, days of hanging in the air.


What inspired the artwork STEIN (ROCK)?

MISHA: The suspension of our life nowadays, the suspension of the war, and a long wait for peace. Is the threat imminent or avoidable? We all are waiting and hoping that ‘the big rock’ will keep resting in its unstable equilibrium propped up to the ceiling with such an ordinary household object as a mop.

What inspires you artistically?

MASHA: The energy of mistake.

MISHA: Somebody’s work that initiates my own thoughts and ideas is the inspiration for me. This could be art or design or film, any genre of art.


Are there any particular artists that inspire you?

MASHA: Unconscious art of the yardmans.

MISHA: These preferences change and vary with the course of life.

Don't miss the chance to see this exhibition in Riga!

Visit this exhibition Riga Last Thursdays evening at Maxim Boxer Gallery, 48 Lāčplēša Street, 18:00-22:00!

Interview by Veronika Bátfai


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