30 Apr Roman Minin: “I want to work with high-quality materials and expensive projects”


A lucky chance aka Contemporary Art Forum afforded me an opportunity to talk to Roman – the man that never stops his art travels.

I don’t travel as much as I want to. Recently I was given a US visa. Soon I’ll fly to Miami – to socialize, to hang around for a while. I am going to display my artworks there. We’ll see what will happen.

The “Slovenia” project is about the state using its power in order to popularize its positive image. Nowadays Slovenia has a really good reputation, Ljubljana has been named European Green Capital. But they continue investing in their image; they work with our artists, invite them, entertain them and later ask to share their experience. It’s a good example for many countries.

Condition of Ukrainian contemporary art partially depends on far-reaching political plans that we can only superficially be aware of. Powerful people know how to manipulate the society with the help of art that is the part of politics as well. And while mass media is the means of direct manipulation, art lets you mentally shape whole generations, i.e. the future.

When I was in school, the chewing gum was just being introduced to our market. But the gum is one thing, when it’s chewed up and stuck under the desk, then chewed up again, enriched in flavor and color… But they had those inserts! We collected them, soldered books to keep them, gambled on them. That was a market! When rich people begin to buy these expensive “chewing gums”, play with the inserts on the stairs at the doorway, exchange them, figuratively speaking, then the art-market will emerge. Now our country has so many problems that only few can let themselves be a child, play with art publically and be carried away by it. That’s why nowadays art is being upstaged, even though in a very delicate, ethical way. Before the war began, there were wealthy people able to invest money in art-market, but now they are gone.

Some people are used to thinking that there are no decent people in Ukrainian art-community. I guess this is the reason why our galleries prefer to bring and display foreign artists. But this is a bit risky business as well. Rich people, who were around the world and were impressed by profound western philosophy, come back to Ukraine and see nothing even close. So they want to bring things that impressed them here. On the one hand, they are right, on the other – they are not. How in this situation can we create something different, original and competitive?

Of course, my works are included to the private Ukrainian collections. At the Art Kyiv Contemporary people came to me and said that they had my works. It’s very pleasant to know that people – quite nice and thoughtful ones – are interested in what you do.

I don’t want my works to be undisplayed. Been there, done that. My stream of consciousness is painting on the walls, working with large surfaces. The more difficult the project, the more I am interested. When I am entrusted with difficult, expensive projects – it’s the true acknowledgment, not the number of paintings sold. But for the time being it’s a rare thing to happen. Now I work on a quite expensive project. I want to create a big stained-glass window with an artificial lighting. I collect material. I’ve got that inner craving to make a counterweight to current process in contemporary art. Many artists are crafty – they try to create artworks that are easy to transport, east to sell with minimum investing… But as for me I want to work with high-quality material and expensive projects.

I’m still close to the guys from the “GAZ” group. I like them and we’ve got one common project left. It’s obvious that relationships between artists in a group are, first of all, personal, when you’ve got the same sense of humor, drive, goals. It’s the only possible way to work together. If there is no mutual personal sympathy, you will always find a hundred reasons to become opponents. I think that soon we’ll make a movie together with the “GAZ” group.