Alexander Iskin


Alexander Iskin, Schloß Beesenstedt
Alexander Iskin, Schloß Beesenstedt

The latest book the artist Alexander Iskin read was the biography of the Russian and later Soviet composer, conductor and pianist Sergei Prokofjew who is probably best known for his addictive fairy-tale masterpiece „Peter and the Wolf“. That being said we suggest to read up again on the story about Peter and the Wolf as the different possible plots and views of its protagonists (the wolf, Peter, the duck in the belly of the wolf, the grandfather, the cat..) are creating a beautiful attunement to Alexander Iskins rotating “ interrealistic“ landscape paintings and all their possible narratives. And that is also what Alexander Iskin stands for in his work. Simultaneously existing and multiple perspectives, worlds and angles which create ultimately a painting. Speaking of which yes, those rather abstract train of thoughts have been triggered while listening to Peter and the Wolf and diving into Iskins complex new Time Line which he lays out in front of us to take over our lives: Interreality. So if you detest hackneyed devices (like Prokofjew did), we strongly suggest visiting Alexander Iskins upcoming opening: #bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthuuntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk on Friday 5th of April at Sexauer Gallery.

Alexander Iskin by Cherie Birkner
Alexander Iskin by Cherie Birkner

Please tell us about Alexander Iskin, what is the core that defines him?

Paintings control me, my artistic approach controls me and influences the time and actions. I love to take walks, to jump into different stories, through live and other realities.

I relax while listening to the stories of others.

The colours always change, which allows my inner plant to breathe and refill itself with new content for the following process. Sleeping is a great invention, too and touching. Touching or being touched is like an enlightening of all the colours which are inside of you. P.S. I am a big tennis and soccer fan. I barely watch, but I read all the articles.  

Alexander Iskin - Interreality Film Presents 3, 2016, Oil on canvas in wooden frame
Interreality Film Presents 3, 2016, Oil on canvas in wooden frame

In an interview from last year with James Scarborough, you describe that your performances are expressing your feelings as a doll on this planet. When I think of the by now “infamous” performance in which you destroyed your smartphone and a MacBook I feel like it is the exact opposite, as you are actively not only changing your own matrix with a physical and very intense action but also the visual reality of the viewer; hence a very powerful act of taking control?  

The performance space is attractive to me because it allows to temporarily create a very direct approach to the fluid identity system in the outside world. In my last performances, I designed myself as an avatar who performs some representational perceptions in a symbolic manner. A doll is maybe not the right word here. It is more a mask in the sense of the old Greek word persona which means mask and person at the same time. In what you referred to as the “infamous Apfelmus“ performance, I wanted to announce a new Time Line which is taking over our lives – the here and now, the time of Interreality – which is a movement by itself – coming from the future to the past or the other way round.

There are so many questions about the future nowadays that we don’t have the time to remember anymore and as soon as the performance is over, the avatar gets dissolved and leaves space for a new one.

When opening the performance I quoted from Dantes Divina Comedia, referring to how ephemeral our “being here” is.    

Alexander Iskin, iPaint, 2017 Oil on canvas, wood, synthetic resin, 67.5 × 66 × 27 cm
iPaint, 2017 Oil on canvas, wood, synthetic resin, 67.5 × 66 × 27 cm

Ok, Elevator pitch! How would you describe or make me join and most important understand the impact of the Interreality movement?

Interreality is an invented space which describes the process of transforming into a new space. Interreality denotes the multi-perceptivity and multi-perspectives of our present reality, the interactions that are simultaneously taking place, that are constantly creating this collective fantasy we are living in.

This feeling of being on the run to somewhere what pretends to make sense, but can get dissolved in the next second.  

Open Windows – Reflections on Beuys, 2016, Sexauer Gallery
Open Windows – Reflections on Beuys, 2016, Sexauer Gallery

In a world and society in which the way people consume and buy has become the last form of subjective action, „Ich kaufe also bin ich“ I ask myself what happens when millions of people lose their jobs and therefore a big chunk of their income, due to robots and computer systems taking over. It would create an extreme abyss for the consumer society, how is your take on this scenario?  

By allowing ourselves to be defined by our own commodification (social media) we have already opened the door towards slowly losing our autonomy. As an artist, I have big problems with the authorities.

I don’t want to take part in anything that contains a “must“ in it.

But back to the question: I don’t think that AI is going to destabilize our economy to the extent that people won’t be able to consume anymore. I rather suspect that due to AI and basic income we will become even more forced into constantly consuming and feeding the algorithms that keep us “alive”.  

Baum der Erkenntnis Himmel, 2017 Oil on canvas and steel, 200 × 216 × 216 cm
Baum der Erkenntnis Himmel, 2017 Oil on canvas and steel, 200 × 216 × 216 cm

Please tell us a bit about your upcoming exhibition. What’s more, I would also like to know what you are reading at the moment!

After announcing the timeline of “Interreality“ during the last performance at Sexauer, I wanted to fill this space with life. Therefore I travelled through different realities in different continents. Over the winter period, when all the trees are naked, I locked myself in the “Art Castle Beesenstedt” which is in the countryside. This was the perfect set up for the show I wanted to put together. I wanted to explore the fluidity of the setup objects (Rotation Paintings) by filling them with different memories, which on the one hand get dissolved by rotating them, while on the other hand they open up a new space of possible perception.

Rotation Painting, Oil on jute, 100 × 100 cm
Rotation Painting, Oil on jute, 100 × 100 cm

It allows the constant change of perspective and perception of the painting which I find fascinating. My painting language quotes the beginning of the 20th Century. Painters like Müller, Schmidt-Rotluff or even Chaim Soutine with his drunk landscapes, but also Arshile Gorky or others.

Actually, I don’t do this on purpose. People tell me that it reminds them of something which I really like because memories are very important. The title of the show is a succession of the word thunder in ten different languages.

A rumble of thunder is a metaphor of destroying and creating, which is the practice of art in itself. As a contradiction, a hashtag is a referential system of the digital space, interlinking references with each other and creating clusters of lineages.

The digital space just persists – there is no time, no memory, no forgetting and no rebirth.

Everything exists until the end of time until a giant solar flare is wiping out all our servers or a giant painting brush is gonna repaint the whole world. I believe in the second option. I was just reading this article and the biography of Sergei Prokofjew.  

Alexander ISKIN | Solo Show


Opening 5th of  April 2019, 6–9pm & Aftershow Drinks !!
Exhibition runs until 8th of June 2019

Sexauer Gallery | Streustraße 90, 13086 Berlin

Header Photo: Pinky’s Brain, 2018 Oil on canvas, 150 × 200 cm

Author: Esther Harrison