"Gastarbaytarskiy voyage". 2006
At present the condition of the artists, who are engaged in contemporary art, is very difficult. Insufficient funding, nonexistence of workshops, where they can crate and keep works. As these works are not sold. Everything happens on an internal resistance. However, as odd as it sounds the artist can overcome all the obstacles in the local context, but at what cost?
In many instances, success depends from the nature and determination, but here we cannot cherish illusions. From the beginning, we rather are in an aggressive movement of the social structure, where you just have to understand what you are going for, and you have to pace oneself at the achievements of the necessary results, and herewith take the responsibility for his own actions. For this, of course, there is no need for motivation, will, belief inn himself, which gives the reason to be true to himself.
The important move here in Uzbekistan for me is that, regardless of all of the obstacles, is to be able to create, and then present own artwork especially here in such conditions. And in such way to express own attitude to the world and own understanding of the things may not coincide with the orthodox view of other people. Such a thing happened, for example, with the work «Abduction of a cocoon», for which, moreover, was granted a Gran-prix at the international biennale in Tashkent in 2013.
Other difficulty – export of the artwork abroad. For this, the artist needs to get a allowance to export, which is issued by the expert committee under the Ministry of culture. The artist must pay for the expertise of his own works from 15 to 30 US dollars per each artwork. The document is issued only for three months. Sometimes it is necessary to pay repeatedly for the same work, and there is no guarantee that is it will be possible to sell the artwork. The probability that the works by an unknown artist will be bought is scanty. The artist has to return these works back and pay for the transportation. It is still unclear who sets these prices and what are the criteria which form this payment.
In the tax office all the artists are considered as entrepreneurs. Artist can spend several months or years for the creation of work. However, tax for this work is taken as for the one month payroll. Nobody takes into consideration the time for the creation of work and the difficulty of its implementation at the absence of the art market.
At the same time the craftsman are given big benefits: they can export their works without payment and without customs declaration, they are assigned a pension, they have an end market.
We face a number of obstacles we face a number of difficulties in the development of contemporary art in Uzbekistan. First of all, this is the position of the Academy of Arts. We have suggested several times to the Academy to create a section of contemporary art. It was ignored.
I would like to talk about the last Tashkent Biennale of Сontemporary art Art, which was held in 2018. I presume, that there are no necessary conditions for holding such important forums in Tashkent. To begin with, lack of proper professional approach in organizing of such events. It seems, that a «wedding event» is being organized instead of a biennial. It takes two years to prepare for such forum, not two months. To fix this event it is necessary to release a catalog, which is not done here People do not understand those important and difficult tasks given us through the format of art.
Art review: How does it feel to personally destroy that what has the soul and time invested to?
Vyacheslav Useinov: Well, this has an explicit meaning for me, as the ritual of irracionalism. Although there are some worried about this. This action is dictated by external necessity. One of my works which I created in 2005 called «Constanta» weighs 1500 kg, is more than three meters in height, 11 meters in length. It is matter-of-course that I had to destroy it as I have no place to keep it.
It happened with the other works as well such as «Wetback round», «Requiem on the killed butterflies of the colonel Lyarossa», «Colonization of a cube» and so on . But most of the works you can see on my web-page. Unfortunately, our statesman on the level of Ministries of culture or museums are not ready to buy such kind of works: installations, videos, ohotos and etc.
Art review: Can your works qualify for public art?
Vyacheslav Useinov: I assume, yes. Moreover, there are sketches and some insight in this regard. Yet, I have some distrust to government officials and their structure. The reason for this, is an unpleasant experience which I have. Do you understand, that to implement such direction as public art in Tashkent, we need to create an Arts Council, which will be working with the artists and the municipal authorities, helping then in determining the worthy artwork for confirmation. Art community should also be involved into the process of selection. As I understand, the only task of the authorities of all levels— is the development of our government, which should be primarily based on culture. However, they are in the system of ranking and the civil servants acts according to what is said by the civil servant of a higher level.
Art review: Are you ready to give your work to authority of any region or city for a symbolic price? It would be your contribution into the culture of the society.
Vyacheslav Useinov: The psychological effect of exactingness to the place and my work actuates in me, to their emotional and intellectual component in the public space. Who will be determining this area in the public space?
That is why, I think, that is it incorrect if the artist will be bringing relief to the city, which is being funded, for the development. Generally speaking, the artist here— is that person, whose opinion people do not listen to, he exists here like a maintenance staff.
Once I happened to do artwork in the Government Executive office. It was a big gobelin with a size of eight meters to eleven in Ok-saroy. Subsequently it came out as a conflict with people, with whom I had to cooperate. Those people treated me not a like a creative thinker but as like a clerk with an appropriate payment. However, I have a positive experience of cooperation as welI also once did work for our embassy in Washington, and then I had an order from the US Embassy in Uzbekistan.
Art review: What is the reason of rigidity of our Academy of Art?
Vyacheslav Useinov: Art Academy of Uzbekistan– is still a product of a Soviet era. Art Academy ended up in the break of the transition period of formation of our government. 28 years of independence – is rather a miserly period of existence in the history. Art Academy works by the knurled route, laid during the soviet period only by the worst-case scenario. The artists themselves, who received education during old times for the most part were in the forefront of ideological significance, and it had a structural certainty and clarity for what the artists are necessary.
But now the Art Academy is focusing only in itself and solving only corporate objectives, which are not connected with the vital problems of the artists of Uzbekistan. I suppose, if the Art Academy of Uzbekistan undertook a commitment, as an independent labor union organization on protection of the rights and interests of the artists, then this would have a greater meaning.
Art review: Nevertheless, ideology and culture have changed enough. We are heading on a different path rather than in the Soviet period..
Vyacheslav Useinov: However, during the years of independence, an art market was not created; artists were left on their own. There are no any state programs on art education of children at schools, no any contacts with the foreign institutions, which could completely influence the art world and the professional level in Uzbekistan. There are no preferences for the professional artists by the government as well as the social protection.
This initiative was supported by the government of Kyrgyzstan. The idea of this project that the visual interaction of children with conceptual images on the doors helps them subconsciously absorb the visual culture of contemporary art, as well as easily orientate in the school area. This experiment caused a big positive response in Kyrgyzstan.
Participation of our artists in central Asian projects— is definitely necessary and good. However, first of all we need to organize our own internal art life here as an effective platform in positioning to the international scene. But for this we should lean to asses our people who are related to art: art experts, counselors, museum workers, collectors, artists and workers of art galleries and etc.
French impressionist have a big value all over the world, only for that they have created this precedent inside their country.
Art review: Is our society ready for change and is it conscious enough for these changes?
Vyacheslav Useinov: Well, the reality depends on changes of our consciousness, I think, tat it is a difficult process. You know, I am not a a political expert and not sociologist, but I think, that what culture is the main indicator of self-sufficiency of the state. The level of counteractions in culture shown the aspiration of society in the development of the country.
Art review: hat vital events in the society effect your work?
Vyacheslav Useinov: Here is a question to your question. What do you understand under the work «vital»?