Vitaliia Fedorova: a chat with the Artsted Prize winner

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Back in September Viitalia Fedorova won the Artsted Prize that the platform offered in occasion of ReA! Art Fair in Milan. In this interview we are going to have a chat with her, a young and upcoming video artist.

Vitaliia is from Ukraine but lives and works in Milan. After a Psychology degree in Kyiv she decided to start a BA in Fine Art at NABA and graduated this year.

She started her art career by showing Culto Bianco - one of her installations - at the Fondazione Pini in Milan back in 2019.

A frame from MAVKAS, 2021. Courtesy of Vitaliia Fedorova. You can find the artwork on sale here.

How do you think your education shaped you as an artist?

Like any other life experience. I am sure that a person cannot give the world more than he/she has in him/herself. Therefore, I have never worked in my first specialty as a psychologist. I was one of the worst students in my class. I was annoyed by textbooks in which people are divided into categories based on the concept of the norm. This experience was important cause I was taught to observe. Have you ever noticed how psychologists calmly and carefully observe the interlocutor, concentrating on him, sometimes without blinking? Finishing my diploma project, I went with a friend to Milan for a weekend. Three days later, I was already engaged in submitting documents to the Academy of Arts there. While I was studying arts this observation skill was my main tool. I started to work on installation, I liked to choose everyday objects, to put my meaning into them and say - look at these objects, you see them, great isn't it? It was there that I started working with the codes of my culture. I liked to show people something that they had not seen before, or saw little, or simply did not understand, but by interacting with my work they can contact these alien elements and receive their own experience.
One day we started lectures on video editing where the task was to make your own video, and I thought "what a bullshit, I don't even have a camera." But then the magic began, it turned out that you can shoot even with a matchbox, and I fell in love. It made sense to my ability to observe, to choose and to match together and this made it possible to tell everything without saying a word. I find it really intimate cause you show other people the reality with your own eyes. It’s very subjective, it’s your reality, but this is your point of view, what else can it be?

Courtesy of Vitaliia Fedorova.

I don't always do well, I constantly make a lot of mistakes. For the last two weeks I have been coping with a crisis. Unfortunately, because of a broken leg I have to stay in bed for a long time. I can't shoot, but shooting is the only thing I want to do. The good fact is that I was also taught to have patience.

A frame from MAVKAS, 2021. Courtesy of Vitaliia Fedorova. You can find the artwork on sale here.

Since you work with video content, what is the most important thing in your work station?

A couch, a computer, digital drives, silence and loneliness. And also candles, there is a good fire next to me. With these things I can work anywhere. While I was studying, any table or windowsill suited me. Now I have moved once again and I have the opportunity to organize a normal studio with a table, monitors, shelves, what else is there? I'm not in a hurry yet, I don't know how correct it is, but I feel good on a soft pillow, surrounded by books with a laptop on my lap. I think it's unprofessional, but I'm not yet a magician either, I’m just learning and now I need some time. Big part of the work happens in my head, so often I need to walk around the room in circles or go out if thoughts change too quickly. It works if we talk about the stage of pre/post production, if we talk about the filming process itself, for me it is always a movement. Your working space moves with you from frame to frame. And here I try to be really organized. I think it's important to have flexibility and be able to enjoy the fact that everything does not go according to your plan and still always have a plan. Now I'm working alone, but hopefully someday I’ll move this  “space” from site to site as a part of a team.

Vitaliia's work station at home. Courtesy of the artist.

How do you find your work is different compared to the other artists on Artsted?

It’s different just because it’s mine. I took a look at the artists and I found many works and practices really cool and inspiring, but the best thing was the plenty of different points of view. Some kind of web to be lost in. And we all are different. To be specific, I didn’t see videos on Artsted and my works represented on a platform are very personal. I share my past experience to make it common but the truth is that I can never change it for myself, I can only change my attitude towards this experience. In my case I do it through my art.

Another frame from MAVKAS, 2021. Courtesy of Vitaliia Fedorova.

How do you use social media?

Mainly for communication and keeping in touch. For following institutions and people l like. I’m not a really active user. There are examples of the artists who very successfully use social networks for their own promotion, and this would be worth thinking about.  For example, I don’t like to share my work in process and I don’t know how to create the “appearance of active activity”, which is a pity.  According to my profile on the social network, probably no one will say that I am an artist.  I have not yet decided whether it is good or bad.  When I want to share something - I do.

How do you research materials for your creative process?

My methods are real life observation and introspection. When I have an intuition to tell about something I work on the idea, I try very hard at least. I start to find information, references, inspiration in books and on the Internet, annoying people around me with questions. At some point it becomes clear to me what I really want to say and I start working. Frankly, sometimes it becomes clear only in the end. The only thing is that in my research I avoid licked and retouched pictures, perfect stories, cheap dramas.  It’s not a principle, they just don't inspire me. When searching for materials, I give preference to real facts and, as they say in my country, “the prose of life”. It means our simple reality with its semitones. It is beautiful in its imperfection. It seems to me that people even love each other not for their merits, but for their shortcomings.

A frame from Two Person Scene, 2021. Courtesy of Vitaliia Fedorova and available here.

Who are your all time favorite artists?

Maya Deren is amongs my favorite artists: she has ukranian roots just like me and she eventually became an icon for the avant-guard american cinema in the 40s. Fransys Alys is another great artists that I look up to. For what concerns the realm of femininity I would say that Carolee Schneemann was a great influence for her way of depicting female sexuality in her artworks. Chris Marker, on the other side, is another artist that I appreciate for his stand against critics and his beautiful work. Lastly, Yuri Ancarani was the one that ultimately taught me how to pursue my career as an artist.

Two person scene and MAVKAS are available to buy on Artsted.

Written by
Anna Frattini