Anna Bochkova is a visual artist based in Germany and her works focus on sculpture for the most part. Born in Russia, she has an extensive experience in the art world and today we are meeting her to ask her 5 questions to get to know her better.
Memory, solidarity, migration and society are some of the topics that she explores within her experience as an artist.
Working in Germany and Austria she participated to solo and group shows at Kunstraum Lakeside, Issmag gallery, Exile gallery, Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof and many others.
Walk us through your academic experience. How do you think your education shaped your career?
I started in Art College in my hometown, Rostov on Don, Russia; the approach there was very academic and at some point became too narrow for me. Then I switched to stage design in Moscow, during these studies I was accepted to Fine Arts Academy in Vienna and in the summer of 2021 I received my Diploma in textual sculpture, now I’m doing my second master in sculpture in HFBK Hamburg.
I am lucky to have tried completely different academic systems; this diversity helped me to stay focused on my own thing. Once I’ve been told that attentiveness makes you an artist. So I’m attentive to half shades, feelings, the world around me and also something not so clear what is ‘flowing in the air’.
What is indispensable while working in your studio?
Motivation and focus are indispensable for me. Especially now when digital space and physical are so strongly infused with one another I think that physical studio is not that necessary. In the last few I didn’t have it but it didn’t stop me from producing sculptures and exhibiting them. In a way I had a very nomad style of working: I conceptualized and visualized my projects and then looked for a place and an opportunity to show them, when the place was found I went there. Thanks to this way of working I had the chance to meet different people and learn about different artistic communities all around Europe.
Currently I have a lovely studio where I have all facilities needed for my work and research. It does definitely feel like a prominent positive development and I really enjoy working there, still if I feel like I need to work, I will start to do it on a kitchen table no matter what.
Who are your favorite artists and who are the ones that built your creative imaginary?
For many years I’d been studying art history in frames of my studies in Russia, then I also sttended such classes in Vienna, so considering this I have quite a good background which also helps me a lot to work with my own themes: for example, Kasimir Malevich, Vladimir Tatlin, El Lissitzky, Lubov Popova and Vsevolod Meyerhold. The artists I always find something to learn form are Louise Bourgeois and Constantin Brancusi.
So for me now it is especially important to see what is happening in contemporary context around me, I really enjoy watching online platforms such as Tzvetnik or KubaParis.
My visual vocabulary does not necessarily come from watching art; it takes a lot from architecture, design, theatre and nature. I believe in a concept of a certain eternity: everything is connected and flows into one another. I watch a lot and this is part of my daily routine, I take a lot of from architecture and early modernism practices. For example currently I’m rediscovering architectural jewels of former soviet scape.
My visual vocabulary does not necessarily come from watching art; it takes a lot from architecture, design, theatre and nature. I believe in a concept of a certain eternity: everything is connected and flows into one another.
How did COVID-19 impact your way of making art?
It was a very challenging time but somehow exactly because of this I could come back to my inner structure and reflect on what are my themes, why I do what I do and which methods are applicable for my targets. In the first month I developed a completely new body of work for me just because my materials where limited to wire and paper. I remembered how to cook papier-mâché glue from flour, how important this material was and still is for Russian theatre tradition. At the same time I started my artistic research towards Russian Cosmism and Easter European perspective on the space, ecology and environment, somehow exactly flexible in working but stable at the end materials as paper and wire helped me to embody and to decode this conceptual infrastructure which I was working with. So, for my practice that limiting was definitely a manifestation of the artistic freedom.
What is your relationship with social media and how do you use them?
Social media always help me to see something what I wouldn’t be able to see in reality. It is so exciting and informative to follow activities all around the world, for me it is also inspiring to see so many talented and conceptually sharp artworks among young artists. Of course in the last years a lot of my communication migrated towards the web due to the pandemic. I started presenting my shows via live-stream, which was a lot of fun, and at the end my shows were visited digitally by a much wider audience then it could be possible in person. I keep my social media portfolio alike, I really enjoy to add my artistic steps into digital archive, still it feels more vivid and interactive than a normal website.