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Andrejs Grants. Photo: Arnis Balčus

How are you fulfilled by the process of teaching? 

In order to teach, you must generalize things; but overall I don’t like the process of theorizing. That’s why I try to do it with a certain reserve. The most pleasant part of this process is when you try to explain a question to someone else, and end up explaining it to yourself, too.

The phenomenon of inspiration is often mentioned in art. Does this actually exist, or are there certain conditions at the basis of creation?

I could playfully say that inspiration is an old-school term. You can no longer rely on it today, and only the rare few artists work like that. Nevertheless, I believe that this is a very elite approach, which gives another, unique quality. You can’t afford it anymore, because everyone has to run, and there are projects where the idea must be thought up beforehand… Inspiration remains waiting, and something is always missing in the finished work. Masterworks created at a pure moment of consciousness, without presence of mind, have a whole different quality. This concept goes hand in hand with another word, from a religious context: revelation. They could even be synonyms. See, you create poetry at a bright moment too! You can’t create it during precisely that afternoon which was set aside beforehand. Contemplation needs time and a certain state, a liberation from the world.

What inspires you and turns you toward contemplation?

Those manifestations of life that you don’t have to view in the context of art, but which can inspire—a mise en scène on the streets, a conversation with a salesperson. Of course, art can inspire too, in the joy of discovery along with another author, seeing a world that tells something essential and thereby inspires. This can be the so-called Northern European renaissance in painting, the Japanese graphic artist Katsushika Hokusai, classic Japanese poetry, etc.

Your reports, those beautiful moments in which everything clicks and is in the right place—is this the result of coincidence, or of waiting and patience?

Sometime you have to wait, other times there’s the feeling that “something has got to happen here!” And it happens, too. Other times nothing happens, and you have to change your place; perhaps there is some logic behind it… Nevertheless, I think that everyone carries those mise en scènes within themselves, and when the actors happen to arrive in similar mutual relations, then something clicks and the frame comes into place. Any landscape is more internal than external, visible to everybody.

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