Anastasia Savinova is mainly interested in performance, landscape, nature and architecture. Originally from Russia, the artist is currently based in Umeå (Sweden), and here, she reveals to Silvia Colombo something more about her art – A review of Savinova’s forthcoming exhibition at Norrbottens Museum (Luleå) will be published in the 2019 summer issue of Art North magazine.
SC. Anastasia, what is the main focus of your multidisciplinary work and, in what way is it affected by the place you live in?
AS. My practice is mainly addressed to places and ecologies, as expressed in several projects revolving around human experience, the spirit of a place (genius loci) and the relationship with the ‘more-than-human world’. I work with drawing, photography, photomontage, installation, sound, video, and performance. I don’t feel that my practice is much affected by the place I live in, even though I might be wrong, because surroundings affect us in many ways. I really can’t tell for sure what my influences are. I see the place I live in as a safe den where I ‘harbour’ after my journeys and sit by my big table at the window to settle and process my findings.
SC. You are an artist with an academic background in architecture: is there any mutual connection between those fields that are reflected in your works? I mean, how much do they influence each other (if they do)?
AS. Right now, I’m not involved in any architectural practice, however I think my Genius lociseries is definitely influenced by my background and by my affection for construction and building. Despite my interest is progressively shifting from the urban environment towards the natural setting, I’m still working with architecture. At the moment, for example, I’m into decaying man-made structures such as old storage houses and barns, attempting to find and track the traces left by humans in secluded places like mountain shelters, remote research stations and villages. I am fascinated by those places, which are soaked by melancholy – that kind of melancholy able to make one smile, because it’s not just about decaying and death, but primarily about the impermanence of all things. And when we accept this impermanence, many things become easier, since “to everything there is a season”.
SC. I would define you a "nomadic artist" since you've travelled rather frequently in order to perform your art. Is there a particular place that has impressed you more than the others and why?
AS. Every place I visit leaves a trace in me. But, among the most important ones, I would definitely name Ålvik in Norway, which I first visited three years ago as part of an artist-in-residence programme. It has become a special place for me, being the first one where I got up on the mountain – and that definitely influenced my practice. I think that there I had the chance to discover the feeling of being part of something greater, which positively affected my work, giving it other perspectives and directions.
SC. Can you tell us something about your current projects?
AS. I’m currently focused on Genius Loci Norr, the exhibition that will open at Norbottens Museum (Luleå, Sweden) in June. Moreover, I’ve been working on a series of work called High Land, which explores the relationship between Humans and Mountains. More precisely, this is the follow-up of the project started during the artist residency in Norway, based upon mountain field trips around Sweden, Norway, Iceland, France, Switzerland and Italy. In this my intention isto explore the splendour and wisdom of the mountain, the sublime of the highlands, the power that has drawn we humans up there since ancient times, and the transformative processes in human body, mind and imagination that takes place in these ‘higher places’.
Anastasia Savinova | Genius Loci Norr
Norbottens Museum, Luleå, Sweden
28 June – 22 September
Tel: +46 920 24 35 02
Silvia Colombo’s review of Savinova’s exhibition will appear in the summer issue of Art North. Silvia is an Art Historian with a PhD in ‘Conservation of Architectural Heritage’.