Semyon Motolyanets

Semyon Motolyanets
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Semyon Motolyanets

I was born in 1982 in the town of Brest, Belarus. Having left the children’s school of arts in Brest I completed the full course at the Glebov Art College in Minsk. Then I graduated from the St. Petersburg Stieglitz Academy of Art and Design, and took a course of contemporary art at the PRO ARTE Foundation. Now I live and work in St. Petersburg.

I have spent all my life studying arts at different academic institutions. Having experienced a sort of creative crisis back at the Academy, I took up self-education and joined the PARAZIT group of artists. That’s how from 2008 I got heavily involved in exhibition activities, both as a single and contributing artist, and I keep doing it up to date. Between 2007 and 2013 I was active in the MYLO (SOAP) Group, which was awarded the National Innovation Prize in 2009. My works can be seen in the Russian Museum, the PERMM Museum, the St. Petersburg Museum of Nonconformist Art and the State Tretyakov Gallery.


On inspiration

Thinking of what art means to me, I come to the conclusion that I am not quite the right artist. I felt this irregularity as soon as I started my studies, back at the art school. They explained to me that first you had to draw the sky and then pass to drawing the leaves on the trees, so as not to colour each leaf separately. So many years have passed, but I still do not understand why this is the way things are, and how the background would stick to the pictorial object.

This silly story constantly brings me back to the question of the right method for an artist. Resistance to retinal art once pushed me into performance experiments and the complete rejection of image as an unacceptable method of contemporary art. Further on, I came to rethinking of the tasks and ideas of compactness of the picture since it is a universal and most common art object: an image in the rectangle.

The semantic aspects have always interested me more than plastic questions, and therefore I have always experienced problems while back in art school. I have always wanted to understand the art, and this understanding put an insurmountable barrier between the rational and the sensual-intuitive in the art.

I keep doing my job in the hope of a new discovery. At the same time I do understand that there is a significant and fundamental difference between creative and scientific practices, and that the discovery method in the arts, unlike the one in science, is exclusively empirical. At times, it is a discovery of the trivial and obvious, to some extent, of something already discovered. It is fine art precisely that poses the questions of cognoscibility to us: why do we go to see a familiar work a thousand times, what do we want to find in it? We repeat subjects; we walk around the same themes and always find a different vision. And it is an endless round dance.

I believe that art creates a mechanism for reflection. A successful art work is an operating mechanism; a poor work is a mechanism that failed to function, although all the signs, namely the formal signs, might be present. While realizing this I do not deny any other opposing creative practices.

An obstacle to understanding (how can you understand a colored spot, or an emotional stroke, or smudges, or splashes, and in general, any image?), is the main inspiration and incentive to work for me. I love art because it is an eternal struggle with boredom. Art is the establishment of rules, new rules of its own, quite possibly not very correct and logical, but working. Sometimes I stand in front of an art work and don’t even understand what I feel it with - my head, heart, guts or skin. One can love art exactly for this, it gives everyone a chance to make his own statement, and this statement can be heard.

Somebody will read this short text and might want to see the photos of my works in the hope of finding confirmation or denial of my conclusions. I wonder if one finds there what I write above, and sees the connection between my thoughts and their artistic implementation. I understand that this gap can accommodate the whole world. That is why art is an inexhaustible field for action, provocation, new rules, silence, denial and other creative acts.

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