In a year where his contemporaries’ politics have overshadowed their art, St Petersburg local Gosha Rubchinskiy has quietly produced a multimedia project to commemorate TRANSFIGURATION – his workshop, gallery and skate-park located in Russia’s second largest city. As an artist, Rubchinskiy hasn’t been limited by medium, manipulating fashion design, photography and film-making to showcase his unique viewpoint; one that is driven by his post-soviet upbringing in a complex country that’s strong religious codes are balanced against a dichotomy of economic and cultural wealth.
Along with Kira Bunse, a German photographer, Rubchinsky will be showcasing his latest project as part of a quarterly exhibition series at 74Quincampoix in Paris. Ahead of the exhibition opening, Dazed Digital spoke to the artist about his fascination with skateboarding and sub-culture as well as what its really like to be an artist in Russia today.
Dazed Digital: What is the TRANSFIGURATION Book?
Gosha Rubchinskiy: In summer 2011, we launched the project TRANSFIGURATION in a modest gallery space attached to a photography workshop and skateboard bowl. TRANSFIGURATION is located in Saint Petersburg on the island of New Holland, which has just opened its door to the public for the first time in the 300 years and our space is part of a larger project of rejuvenating life on the island. It is designed as a temporary summertime cultural hub, geared towards young artists. TRANSFIGURATION has hosted a series of events such as exhibitions, live shows and skateboarding competitions. The TRANSFIGURATION book, made with the help of publisher Junsuke Yamasaki and art director Pavel Milkyakov is the photo part of this project - portraits of the boys and some landscapes.
DD: Since you started working, how have you seen the Russian style/art scene change?
Gosha Rubchinskiy: It is always changing and I am changing too as an artist. I see interesting people around me now. I hope you'll too see more new Russian artists soon!
DD: As a fashion designer you’ve been referenced sportswear and sub-culture, what about it inspires your designs?
Gosha Rubchinskiy: It was important for me when I started, now I do reference skate things like in this book and the accompanying video. And when I start to work on my next project it will be something different than I haven’t used before - new moods and themes. But, anyway, I am just inspired by the people here in Russia.
DD: 2012 has seen the world pay attention to Russian politics, thanks to Pussy Riot, but what is it really like to be an artist in Russia today?
Gosha Rubchinskiy: I hate politics’ games, it is not art. I am sad and I think it is very silly to give attention to the fakes. To be an artist today in Russia it is the same as anywhere in the world. I think you are an artist if you have something to say. If you have some love and energy you can share with people, and I am trying to do that.