A cinematic voiceover for one of her videos suggests: Why don’t you give her a little touch? But you are not supposed to touch… Meanwhile, an interaction between two women but also with an object somewhat similar to a vase is taking place. Well, they do touch, and we touch too. We touch the subjects of art, eroticism, female beauty and fruits with Libyan-born artist Ekaterina Bazhenova.
Ekaterina, a photographer and video artist, likes to play around with moving images and the construction of meaning. In her work, meanings are created when bodies, both alive and still, come in close contact. Narrations from old art movies guide viewers’ understandings of what they are being exposed to, but in the end, the videos leave space for individual interpretations and beliefs. We talked to Ekaterina about some of her beliefs and the matters she likes to touch, and also what touches her personally.
Where are you from and what is home for you now?
I was born in Libya. My father is Georgian and my mother is Ukrainian. Probably this makes me Russian. Having lived in London for almost ten years now, I still cannot call it home and have a feeling of moving somewhere else. I guess, “home” is something you feel nostalgic about; so far I have not developed such feelings for any place.
Have you ever studied art, photography, fashion or film?
I studied art and economy (in reverse order).
You like to use voiceovers from old art movies for your videos. If you could pick a movie to voiceover your own life right now, what would it be?
Probably, “Amateur” (1994) by Hal Hartley.
How often do you have bizarre dreams and remember them the morning after?
If I have bizarre dreams, I remember them. And I hate cross-realistic ones.
Your work has erotic, sexual nature… even eating fruit is sexy in your videos. Do you feel the same kind of eroticism in this act in everyday life? Does it apply to everything, and everywhere?
My work is very intuitive and eroticism is a very banal…thing. Yes, it can be applied to anything and/or anywhere. It’s like french fries on a restaurant’s menu – you try to avoid ordering it but if it arrives to your table you will eat it.
Why do you prefer working with young girls and femininity rather than the male beauty?
I don’t actually look for femininity or beauty in general. I’m more into a psychological pretention in public and being in control of your appearance. Usually girls are pretty good at it; also girls are great at simulation. Boys are just honest and I’m not interested in honesty.
How much do you guide the models and their movements during your video shootings?
It depends on the video’s purpose; fashion videos are always 100% controlled by me, it’s less humanistic and the main focus is on a product. For art videos, I work with real people (not fashion models) who already know my work and working approach and can understand me easily by just reading a project’s brief.
One of your voiceovers (part TWO) imposes that we live in overstimulated times. Do you think it is a positive thing?
It is as positive as technological progress is.
Your work also encourages using one’s body as some sort of an investment. How do you personally relate to that?
Well lets put it like this – as long as I apply a body cream to my skin it’s an investment and it’s very personal.
What is your favorite body part and how would you highlight it?
I would say fingers and nails just because they are weird.
Do you think you offer people something they cannot get anywhere else?
I don’t think so. I keep my work as simple as possible and leave plenty of room for viewer’s imagination.
Name three things that you love or find extraordinary.
Backside of my heels