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Jaroslav Kysa: The Spirit of Ecstasy

The Slovakian artist, who staged four public interventions for Dazed & Confused’s Money Issue, presents this exclusive film of a tender moment with a Rolls-Royce

When Dazed asked Slovakian artist Jaroslav Kysa to come up with a series of public video intervention’s for the money issue, the 29-year-old took to the streets of London with his irreverent approach to wealth and power. First visiting the upper echelons of luxury, Kysa licked the windows of the Louis Vuitton flagship store on Bond Street before getting orally acquainted with the Spirit of Ecstasy figure on the hood of a nearby Rolls Royce.

Over on Oxford Street, Kysa perplexed shoppers when he stuck a mirror over the screen of a cash machine, before he was stopped short by several unimpressed police officers. As unfazed by his close encounter with the law as he was by public scrutiny in Mayfair, Kysa’s last intervention saw him lead a flock of pigeons from Marble Arch to Primark’s flagship store on Oxford Street, where he created a pigeon barrier across the entrance of the store using bird seed. Kysa has taken part in exhibitions and residencies throughout Central and Eastern Europe, where he was a finalist in two prestigious art awards.

After finishing his MFA in Košice, Slovakia, Kysa worked as a curator at the VICE gallery and at the MeetFactory International Centre of Contemporary Art in Prague. He moved to London last year to join a team of sculptors and model makers at a company that makes artwork for the likes of the Chapman Brothers and other big names in the art world. Dazed met up with Kysa to find out more about his unusual approach to art in public spaces.

Dazed Digital: What convinced you to make public interventions an integral part of your practice?
Jaroslav Kysa:
When I finished studying I had a three months residency in Prague and the main theme was interventions. I was in a new city so I started exploring the public space. During that time I made ‘The Smoke’ and the first pigeon barrier.

DD: What’s your fascination with pigeons?
Jaroslav Kysa: I use them as a metaphor for people. They’re nasty, hungry, greedy creatures…

DD: Is that how you see people?
Jaroslav Kysa: Sometimes, yeah!

DD: Why is oil a recurring theme in your work?
Jaroslav Kysa: I see oil as an extract from the world of money and power. For me, it all starts with oil.

DD: Why do you place yourself in your public interventions?
Jaroslav Kysa: It’s important for me to be there and take part in the action. I enjoy the whole process and the adrenaline rush.

DD: How do you get your ideas for your interventions?
Jaroslav Kysa: Often I’ll study the history of a place, and then my reaction comes once I know what has happened there. My environment is what inspires me. I like exploring new places and if I stay in one place too long, I lose inspiration and creativity. I use influences from music, nature, films and from many different things, but the most important thing is the city.

Dazed Digital presents “The Spirit of Ecstasy” an exclusive film of Jaroslav Kysa’s public interventions for Dazed’s money issue.

To see more films, check Dazed TV for "The Windowlicker" and "The Barrier". All filming and photography by Alice Masters.

Dazed & Confused's Money Issue is out now