Contemporary Art @ Boğaziçi - Interview Project


Enes Hecan -


1) When was the first time you feel like an artist, in other words how did you interested in art?

So long ago that I don't have memories about it. I am a kid of communist Bulgaria, where art was a prestigious and well catered professional field, so it was not difficult to get attracted by it.

2) You are a new media artist. Do you think technology by itself determine the difference between new media art and art or what gives an artwork new media art etiquette?

I don't consider myself a new media artist. In fact I think the use of the term is not adequate to the situation anymore - all media are in a convergence flux, so its hard to say what media are old and what new. In short the label 'New Media' got rusted and should be thrown in the dustbin. Another peculiarity I insist on recently is the possibility to address the condition of media saturated human experience not necessarily through the use of electronic or digital tools.

3) According to your artworks, I have a question about the topical world issues that you put your works. Do you think an artwork should have a world-wide and up-to-date concept to be a contemporary art? Is it possible a contemporary artwork emphasize a past or future issue?

I am reading your question 3 times and I am still not sure what you ask me. Let's assume you ask me whether to call something contemporary art it should have a "contemporary" topic? I'd say first, repeating a bit my previous answer, but the term contemporary art is another one that does not really help in describing anything particular nowadays. In auction houses contemporary art would be anything done after second world war may be. Theorists would talk about contemporary art being a creature of the neoliberal phase of capitalism after 1989. So I would put the line between art that is relevant to the present tense and one that is irrelevant. There are still graduates of the art schools in my home country who do painting in the modernist tradition fully embracing those values without a distance. That I would consider irrelevant art.

4) Did you always wanted to be an artist or would have you been happier if you could choose another profession?

That was never a question for me. I started early on to consider myself as an artist, and the only time I exercised a different profession was being for a year an art-director in an advertising agency. I could not bear it more than a year.

5) Why do you mostly interested in video art, is there a special reason?

I am interested in cinema, it's language, history, conventions and myths, so the medium of video gives me the freedom to explore the language of the cinematic in a loose form called "moving image".

6) You had a cultural anthropology education, does this bring any return to your artist life?

It gave me a certain perspective from which I can see my practice. Knowing a bit of the logic behind the history and theory of culture prevents me from adopting certain naive assumptions. At the same time in order to maintain my practice that is driven by intuition and not by rational methods, I should temporarily shut down all that I learned and I assume knowing.

7) For my experience from researches that I made about you, you have a really huge background and you won a good few awards. Can you connect these to some of your characteristic and do you think can you measure an artist as a good one with his or her awards and popularity?

Well, again, depends what we consider "a good artist" - on what value system we project the work of an artist. Unfortunately the romantic view towards the genius of artists like Van Gogh, living entire life unrecognized and then being considered to be great, is quite irrelevant today. Manuel Castells said that in a networked world if you are not part of the network, you do not exist. And still I believe there is something outside of the network rules (awards, biennials, popularity, etc) that keeps my internal integrity as an artist - the clear view that my work has a certain position in the art-landscape.

8) As a last question, what are you planning to do in these days, is there a new project in your mind you want to make real?

I just closed a solo exhibition at ICA-Sofia, and planning another one in July, but it's bad to explain a film to someone who is about to watch it, isn't it:)?