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Latvian artist Andris Vītoliņš. Photo: Arnis Balčus

Andris Vītoliņš 0


1. What’s the best moment of your day.

There are two: morning and evening.

The morning is always full of hope for success... except when I have to go the dentist or the IRS.

The evening – contentedly full of the day's accomplishments. (My teeth are healthy and they're all there.)

2. Why do you work as an artist?

Twice I have tried to get out of this habit. Both times, strong blows threw me back in. I don't struggle against fate anymore.

3. What films, concerts, exhibits, or books have left a lasting impression on you?

Recently, the New York group Swans' concert at the VEF Cultural Center left a really strong impression on me.

My list is going to be long. Starting with Grace Jones' vitality and ability to swing a hula hoop at age 63. Underworld, who surprised the world in the 1990's, including me, in 1995. After classic music like that (brown and shitty), Latvian painting dies in your head. Next is a group from Eastern Europe – Laibach, which has influenced some pretty big processes... “Film” would be Michelangelo Antonioni; no one makes films like that anymore. And definitely Dziga Vertov's film Man with a Movie Camera – a supremely contemporary work! I'll stop here, I'm not about to write a book.

4. Where do you currently get ideas for your works?.

I've always had the question: “How can I become stupid and unproductive?”, because ideas come from my brain as if from an atomic reactor. It's just a question of which of them do I pick and choose to carry out...

5. Which work(s) of art would you like to have in your possession?

What do you call a work of art these days? And ownership means responsibility: what happens if the Picasso painting molds, or if Damien Hearst's shark rots? You'll be smeared in the world's press. I'd choose an AK-47. A Kalashnikov is a great work of art; you can always refurbish it and convert it if times get desperate.

6. What do you do when you’re not occupied with art?

Hang around foreign cities. There you can get new experiences and ideas beyond description.