Q&A with Falkov S.N.

December 22, 2022
Q&A with Falkov S.N.


Who are you and what do you do?

Hi ! My name is Stas, I was born in 1987 in Tyumen. Before I started painting, for a long time I have been curating (and still am) the creative association "Kruzhok", as well as a resident of Errring Studio. After February I had to emigrate and now live in Paris, where I work with "L’atelier des artistes en exil (aa-e)".


When did you first realize you wanted to become an artist? or - how did you become an artist?

It all started during the quarantine as a kind of a therapy, and eventually grew into a meaningful experience. The curatorial activity in the Kruzhok is mostly aimed at collective interaction, so at some point I felt that my "self" began to blur in this project. Painting allowed me to get a grip on my own experiences, to recapture what defines me, and to bring it out through art. 




How do you work?

I never work with sketches but I always have the "blank page problem", so I start with a plan to do something, and in the process I develop images, which I continue to work with. I look into the canvas and try to see something there. I can think of a figurative thing and draw it, but it can turn out badly and end up with a completely different image. When I look at it again, it can suddenly turn into an abstraction, or a completely new figurative image can come out of it. I am very attracted by this moment of unexpectedness in artistic practice. And at the end, I look at the work and I am very surprised - I think, what is it anyway, where did it come from and how did it appear? 


What role does the artist have in society?

I don't think an artist should think about his role. Someone from the outside can talk about it. If you make art, it's not a role - it's your life and you can't live it any other way. If you try to play a role, it will never be true and authentic. 


How your practice changed over time?

My first few works were quite figurative. I remember going to the Andrei Rublev Museum at the time of the quarantine, and I became very interested in icon painting afterwards. It was a culture shock for me when I was able to see and distinguish some kind of Russian visual code embedded in these icons. It was a kind of "visual hook" for me, and almost the entire first year I was trying to interpret my vision of iconography. Later I realized that it was a very primitive move and so I moved on to more abstract painting which is not tied to a visual or other context, but is rather my own experience and thoughts. Now I am trying to find inner visual images that are connected only to me. 


Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?

Besides the visit of the Andrei Rublev Museum which I mentioned earlier... I am inspired by small details of everyday life, some scenes of everyday life or a series of visual images collected over a certain period while I am in search. I'm not trying to look for inspiration in art or other artists. My approach to them is purely curatorial. My inspiration does not overlap with the activity that I am engaged in. That's why I don't look for it in museums or galleries but in the street. 


What do you dislike about the art world?

I don't concentrate on such things. You can take any industry and find things in it that will disturb your life. But it will only bother those who concentrate on it.  I care only about the process, not what surrounds it. 


Favorite or most inspirational place?

For the moment, this is where I am, that is, the Noisy-le-Grand neighborhood of Paris. The neighborhood is very inspiring, it' s like a constant in-between contradictions. Almost the same semiotic frontier that I mentioned before. It's new to me: utopian decorations intermingle with everyday reality because the neighborhood is practically a ghetto. And imagine, there is a real utopian city, which under a layer of heavy domestic life has turned into something else entirely. Everything here lives between domestic decay and the sublime architecture of brutalism. It's this disparity that inspires me. 



Which artists have played a role in influencing your style?

I like Francis Bacon and his life because it matched the meaning of his works. Among movies - Alejandro Chodorovsky, his visual style touched me a lot in one time. But all in all, this list is constantly changing. Every week I can find a new name, and this is not a one-time occurrence, it is always an ongoing process of learning. I can't imagine being obsessed with just one person. After a while some things can seem completely meaningless, which was inspiring before.


The Idea/concept surrounding your work, can you tell us more?

There are two main directions:

The first is my personal experiences. A constant self-portrait of my mental state or physical aspects, I try to find out what is hidden inside my personality or body. This is the main part of my work - a self-portrait or visualization of a particular experience, a moment, an image imprinted on me. 

The second is a project work related to social contrasts, to the contradictions of human society. Project Sansara, for example, a project with Evgeny Muzalevsky aka Zorg, a joint project about abandoned buildings with Errring Studio. These projects are works with a social agenda, it is a form of comprehension of the everyday and everyday life - the " simple life ". In all this I try to study human society and the "outgrowths'' of it - civil, religious, political institutions, habits, traditions, the psychological patterns of people in their daily lives. 


What is most important to you regarding your work?

At this moment it is the process itself. It completely absorbs me. I never think about the goal or the result. Everything happens somewhere in between.


What was the first artwork you made?

I drew a comic book about a Mutant Cat in third grade.


What has been your most enjoyable project or commission? 

I think it is the Sansara Project because it was totally participatory and timely. I was inspired by the Errring Studio space, which at the time was absolutely unique. It so happened that my personal concept fully coincided with the collective idea of exploring the post-office - the empty vast spaces that we as humanity have yet to redefine. I tried to work this out as much as possible. Also, Sansara was one of my first attempts to create a total installation and immersion in hypertrophied human institutions: commercial and religious. The juxtaposition of mortgage structures associated with religious institutions--the research of combining them into a single global structure. 


Could you recommend any music/book/film you`ve been listening/reading/watching lately?

Among the books: Dalton Trumbo's "Johnny Got His Gun", and the movie is Alejandro Jodorowsky "Holy Mountain"

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