INTERVIEW URBAN DJORDJE PRUDNIKOFF

 

 

DUSAN  M. STOJANOVIC -PORTRET

PRIPREMIJO:

DUSAN M. STOJANOVIC

 

PRUDNIKOF SELF PORTRAIT

 

Rodjen 1939 godine u Uzicu od oca Rusa i majke Srpkinje. Od 1946 zivi u Beogradu. Upisao Akademiju likovnih umetnosti ali vec u prvoj godini prelazi na Akademiju za primenjene umetnosti – Odsek grafickog dizajna. 
   Od 1968. godine povremeno zivi i radi u Becu i Milanu. Dobio je vise medjunarodnih nagrada za graficki dizajn i dizajn namestaja i keramike, a poseban uspeh smatra predstavljanje Italian-designi van Italije.
  Krajem 1975 godine sudbinskom igrom slucaja skoro sasvim se posvecuje slikarstvu. Iako je najvise poznat po portretima u poslednje vreme ga privlace vece kompozicije. Izlozbe – imao vise samostalnih izlozbi u zemlji i inostranstvu.

 

 

 I N T E R V I E W….
U R B A N____engleski
zaterdag 8 maart 2008 0:29:36
Aan:
SRPSKA ARMIJA (the.serbianarmy@hotmail.com)
 

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Djordje Prudnikoff <prunikof@sbb.co.yu>
Date: 08.03.2008 00:02
Subject: I N T E R V I E W………U R B A N____engleski
To: dusanmstojanovic@googlemail.com

 

Nadam se  da ce imati strpljenja da procita i ovaj moj intervju.
( I znak URBANA sam ja napravio uz asistenciju moga sina )
Sve najbolje
Djordje
slikar valjda
 
 
 

I N T E R V I E W

Prudnikoff

 www.prudnikoff.com

 

PRUDNIKOFF – TITO

"ANYONE WHO HAS A TALENT STANDS OUT IN ANY SOCIETY FROM HIS EARLY CHILDHOOD, AND THAT TALENT SHAPES HIS BEHAVIOUR TOWARD THE WORLD AROUND HIM. NEVERTHELESS, THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE THAT MOULDS AN ARTIST’S DESTINY, AS WELL AS THE DESTINY OF OTHER PEOPLE, IS LOVE FELT FOR WHAT THEY DO. YOU MAY WONDER WHY THAT LOVE IS NOT REQUITED. YOU HAVE BEEN DOING WHAT YOU LOVED, BUT IT JUST HASN’T BEEN ENOUGH, AS IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO LOVE SOMEBODY, AND TO BE LOVED IN RETURN."

Author: Marija Bumbić


 

  PRUDNIKOOF usces

 

1.When and how did you become aware of your talent, and did you inherit it from someone from your family? Is the talent, for You, genetic, God’s, or some other kind of gift?

 

Although we live in XXI century, which indicates a long existence of the mankind, we don’t know much about our genesis. I don’t believe that lot has been discovered about the development of different talents, so I wouldn’t let myself into disclosure of that truth. I guess that when the whole story of talents began, people started with these who stood out, in any sense of that word, from those who simply took care of their survival. If you compare a newborn baby with its mother or father, that is normal, the same logic is followed when thinking about talent that children often inherit from one of their parents. My father, being a geometer, drew well, and his brother, whom I unfortunately haven’t met because he was killed while I was just a small boy (100 persons shot for 1 killed German), was a professional painter. I’ve only come to know him through his excellent drawings. My mother knitted and did crocheting well, with the eye for colours. My son possesses the same talents as I do, but in the other forms: I loved to sing, he composes, I am a painter, he may become a sculptor or an architect, etc.

 

2. In which way has your life, not only artistic life, been determined by your talent, and what do you think about your and talent in general?

 

Anyone who has a talent stands out in any society from his early childhood, and that talent shapes his behaviour toward the world around him. I have to point out that for me talent is not only painting, singing… but also being in for some sport, having a good sense for business, and many other things that turn any society into prosperous one. Alas, talented people in politics are the least.

 As far as my talents are concerned, I’ve had a few. I regret for not having this experience then, and for not dedicating enough space, at the right time, to each talent I once possessed. Nevertheless, the most important issue that moulds an artist’s destiny, as well as the destiny of other people, is LOVE felt for what they do. That love makes you work, and work itself brings new revelations and achievements. An artist can say a bit about himself only after becoming well informed about the others, which is hard when you are turned to your work and improvement. In all this tragedy of mine, during which I haven’t painted for five years, Internet has happened to me thanks to which I’ve made many contacts that have given, and are still giving me the greatest possible support, and the strength to endure and to believe that I’m still an artist-a painter.  

  PRUDNIKOFF 7

3. What is, in your opinion, beside talent, needed for the creation of a work of art?

 

The support of the community you live in is very important. In my opinion, the talent is very much related with love for what you are doing, and you shouldn’t take notice of the problems related to your work. Love is blind here, too. It forces us to move ahead, to have ambitions and to show them, so if the support comes along way it maintains that love and develops the talent! It all ends well if your community respects you, but if that is not the case what are you left with at the end of your life? You may wonder why that love is not requited. You have been doing what you loved, but it just hasn’t been enough, as it is not enough to love somebody, and to be loved in return. The time has run swiftly, and what for?

 

4. It’s not rare to see painters doing design. A good example of that is famous Salvador Dalí. You have started as a designer, too. Which forms occupied you most, and do you still do some designing?

 

I’m not quite acquainted with Dalí’s works, both artistic and design. It may sound a bit strange, but any young artist who has something to say looks at other artists superficially, purely informatively, exhausts himself while working thus pulling out to the surface what can be given at a certain level of his development.

 

 I remember Dalí’s lip-shaped armchair. It was very specific. Dalí was the artist of the greatest format! I started designing after an exhibition in Belgrade that had left me unaffected, so on my way home I thought up a two-purpose glass. Thus it began, with provocation that causes reaction if you are creative.

 

 I’ve started painting in the same way, although I was in design business in Italy. In Skadarlija, I met a colleague of mine who didn’t manage to draw me. I was unsuccessfully trying to do the same at home. After a lengthy break nothing seemed to work, although I had been the best drawer at the Academy of Arts. Having the need to regain my self-respect, to prove myself worthy, I kept on working lot and hard to reach this level. Hard work, the influence of people around me and of the everyday’s life whether positive or negative, an artist’s necessities, sufferings and disappointments most affect an artist as a creator. If you are a painter, and there’s a woman you love, alongside with the great torment because of yearning for her, you’ll paint her with such emotions that the painted one could almost replace the real one. The great love will come out with the great painting.

 

 

5. Your large, half or whole newspaper adverts have been graphically "different", but with respect to their content they’ve been new, provocative and we could say prudnikoff-ish. What did you, beside self-advertising, aim to achieve and why haven’t there been any of them for a while?

 

Long time ago, those adverts became my best way to communicate with people, with possible clients, and they have known me by them. Many interviews that I gave in the beginning of my career were often shortened, and the questions and answers in them were unsatisfactory. Brooding a bit on the theme, I found the way to say things in the way that suited me better. In adverts, you can say more with fewer words, while they are artistically rich, more effective, and you are more distinguishable. You have to know to make yourself noticeable in that deluge of interviews.

 

Later other people used this method of mine, thus making me a bit avant-garde.

 

Those adverts cost a lot, and I’m sorry for not having the money for them now.

 

6. Was the invitation of the International Association of Business Leaders, in June 2002, to join their club an outcome of your artistic-design work, or of something else, and why did you turn this offer down? 

 

Having presented myself on the Internet through my works … painting and designing, it seems that I had my own way there too, which singled me out from the others. Maybe my paintings made their small contribution? An advertising expert from our country who lives in Italy visited me last summer, and he said: "If you have quality goods and advert it on the Internet everyone will know it is good, and vice versa."I agree with it completely, and the proof for that was this invitation for the International Association of Business Leaders membership, which I refused. How could I accept to be their member, when they, as the most normal thing, expect such members to have higher standard and to be able to take part at the meetings all around the world. And who I am here…. nothing and nobody. The fact that I’m an honourable member of French Academy of Science and Arts, and many other associations as well, just sticks out here like a sore thumb. 

 

7. You spent your youth in Italy, and often went there back. Did the great Italian artists influence you to turn to painting, especially to the portrait, and to choose realistic style in the time of the dominance of the abstract art?

 

I went to Italy in 1968 for the first time because I had won a prize at the international contest "SORMANI" for "New Ideas in Furniture-Design". Having received the prize, I was offered to stay there. That was really the right time for new ideas in design, new materials were being found… and they appreciated me a lot, and the proof for that was me being selected into "ITALIAN-DEASIGN" outside Italy, too. Just when I was to take firm hold of my position in Italy, because of a certain "admirer" of my works from Belgrade who lived in Milan at the same time and pinched on the streets while bearing my surname in his passport, I wasn’t given the prolongation of my work permit. That "admirer" of my painting and of my "posh" surname was many times the guest in Vanja Bulich’s show "Black Pearls" on TV Politick. After eighteen years, I am finally finding out why I wasn’t given that prolongation!

  PRUDNIKOFF 5

What a destiny!

 

 My turning to painting was caused by above-mentioned provocation in Belgrade, when the colleague of mine tried to draw me in Skadarlija, but my hard design work in Italy and ever-present abstract forms influenced it much more. I started painting and went back to my childhood and to realism that had been stopped by my schooling at the Academy. By the end of my work-stay in Italy, I even started merging realistic sculpture with my furniture designs!

 

 I haven’t, thus, been influenced by this or that painter. I’ve carried it all in me and merely waited for the moment to start painting.

 

8. How do you make portraits-by order, by photography, or by posing of a person whose portrait you’re making – and how did you make the portraits of Tito and Milosevic? 

 

We live in the world of money-race, stress, and you can hardly find someone willing to pose, which forces us to work with photographs. There’s a great difference between these portraits and those of the old masters. They painted with less strain because of having a tri-dimensional model that made their portraits more plausible. I’m not sure who has placed me in this wretched time of ours, but there’s nothing to be done. I have to toil more than the old masters did without the possibility to attain their results, although they were no more talented than I am! It all asks for a lot of curiosity, asks from you to peek into that inner self of a person you’re portraying, and every single person is concocted in a different way. Only someone who loves people, which means the one who searches for and emphasizes their positive traits, can do it. My paintings are never ugly. There’s been a lot of ugliness around us! "Gallery of Portraits" in Tuzla announced an open competition "Tito in the Works of Art" long time ago, but my portrait didn’t pass although the famous photographer Nikola Bibic who often took photos of Tito said that he hadn’t seen better portrait of Tito than that one…. and five portraits of Safet Zec passed! Tito’s Cabinet ordered a portrait later, which was printed as a stamp and as a postcard for the "25 May" Museum. I guess that it was just normal to await the order for a portrait of Slobodan Milosevic in 1989, which was later printed too. It was first ordered from Olja Ivanjicki, although she is not in the realistic portrait, but she did one.

 

 Anyway, I finish a portrait for the same time as any other larger composition. Watching the ubiquitous faces on a TV screen has made me sick of doing portraits, because when painting a larger composition I offer much more delight to the lovers of my art. I also have an opportunity to commit myself to some other interesting themes. By the way, because of that Milosevic’s portrait I’ve been expelled out of my flat and I haven’t been painting for more than five years….

 

9. Has it ever happened that someone’s face was inapprehensible for your brush, that you couldn’t convey not his physical look but his character, his inner self, that unconceivable "I"? How much does it matter to you to do a portrait that is faithful picture of a person, that looks like he or she and that is easily recognizable?

 

It could never have happened because doing a portrait was always a new challenge to me. It’s something I was famous for. While making the choice of photographs, and I personally take photos, we choose the one that suits a person best. We are not "recognizable and true" us on every photograph! Once it happened to me that I was doing a portrait of a daughter of a certain man. He had chosen the photograph, not she, I was doing my best, but it was all for nothing… she didn’t like the chosen photo nor the painting itself. She didn’t see herself as such. Now, I take great care of these things!

 

10. Almost all your paintings have dark or sfumato-hazy, sometimes almost black, background. Is your pallet, like the light, focused on some part of a painting, the reflection of your soul?

 

Maybe you shouldn’t talk with an artist about that… He works as he works, and the result is probably all that experience accumulated in him and his ancestors.

 

My father came from Russia with his parents as a child! What his origin is and what my mother’s origin is…. a peasant from Zlatibor…Who can explain that… these are some strange things.

  PRUDNIKOFF 3

 I was even born thanks to my mother’s mother!?

 

 My mother came from Prokuplje to Uzice to abort … I was an unwanted child at that moment but my grandmother saved me!

 

 It always makes me cry when I think of my grandfather, a famous merchant from Uzice, of my grandmother, of all those memories… Who will explain me all that?

 

 I don’t know many things, along with why I paint in this way… I can just brood on all that and say that, even when meeting someone, I memorize only the most important things, the essential ones that one has said. Why I think the way I do, and why I treat the canvas in the same way, gently emphasizing the things that matter to a person portrayed, not making he or she look ugly, is perhaps explicable either for a psychologist or for a well-educated person. After all…I do it unconsciously and truly, chasing the results I’ve seen in my head that are set there who knows when! It’s important to point out…any true artist works through emotions, if it’s not the case there would be many artists…it would be enough to be well-informed…well-educated!

 

 Everyone knows it’s not so. Theory and the work within realms of painting are two different things.

 

 Maybe such atmosphere of a painting comes out as a result of my wish to put a portrayee in the first perspective and emphasize the best in him or her. Furthermore, the sense of esthetic is very important, and I’m very proud of my son who has expressed that sense from his early youth, as well as his critical attitude.

 

 I wouldn’t say that I possess that rational, critical attitude; I just feel that something’s wrong and I react creatively, or I used to react so.

 

 It isn’t said in vain…"Leave the world to the young"!

 

 Although I have my comforting variation of the theme: "Any man has a certain creative capacity, and if it’s stopped by force, it can be manifested in the later years of life!"

 

 I hope that people won’t laugh at this?

A painting has to have its own life, its own space in which something or somebody can be found… Why would you otherwise approach a painting… if not to reveal that little secret, that beauty… which is not the same as the observable particles. The living space has its own atmosphere that we create, and a painting adds to it… with more or less success… depending on the owner who has chosen the painting.

 

11. You’ve done several portraits of our stunning opera-singer Jadranka Jovanovich, as well as a number of paintings showing many musicians. How did these paintings come to life, and what is your relation to music, as to the other great realm of art? Is there music on your canvases?

 

I used to claim that I prefer singing to living. How it seems strange now, but then, during my student’s days when I loved to sing and had that great Russian voice, I had some problems with tonsils that presumably hindered me to continue with singing. Singing meant the world to me! However, music has remained the part of my life and I can’t work without it, and there would be ever-grater need for thematically corresponding paintings, for in these years, after all that has happened, I can’t bear tragedy in any of its forms!

 

 After one rather unpleasant experience when the persons who had ordered a portrait behaved in a very impropriate manner, I simply needed to paint Jadranka Jovanovich to recapture that pleasure of painting again. Her beauty and a mere contact with the person of resembling spirit and ambition return faith in life. She is a very special person.

 

12. Our critics and your colleagues have praised and criticized you, some even disdained you and classified your work as kitsch. How do you accept critiques, and are you personally satisfied with your work? Is it, at all, possible for an artist to be satisfied with himself and with his work?

 

 

I’ve had bad experience with most of our critics, even with many of my colleagues in the beginning of my career… The hardest thing is to stand out in a community that is accustomed to the old and hard on accepting the new. All of us, when forced to change, do it in a slow way.

 

 But, who are those critics? They are humans just as we are. It’s difficult to be an objective critic-contemporary, but it’s unrefined when such person behaves as if being the wisest and the one knowing everything. It takes time to see who is who. Many faults are being unrevealed in a judgment of an artist because many critics are not able to follow the artist’s evolution- they are either not interested in it or doing it by mere chance. It’s all very serious. Some people say that a painting is never finished. I, on the contrary, stop painting when I think to myself that there is nothing more to be added. I am, on my part, dissatisfied with myself because I haven’t done as many paintings as I could, and as far as design is concerned, in terms of international competitiveness, my evolution has been stopped when I was forced to return to Belgrade!

 

13. Your paintings are extremely expensive. Is their price the result of your awareness of their value, or…? Do you easily part from your canvases?

 

They are expensive for this society, but if I had grown up in a richer country then people wouldn’t talk about my prices. Maybe they would but in another context. One American has sold his painting for $18 million, and we all know what you must have for such transaction. I part from my paintings harder than before, especially from those that are part of my memories, that are always full of emotions, and since not being in the possibility to paint for last five years that "separation" is rather heightened!

 

14. Why, after so many years of work and many sold paintings, don’t you have your own atelier or gallery, which made you refuse the offer of the Deutsche Bank from Frankfurt whose representatives were to be sent to your "show-room" last year to choose and buy some of your paintings?

 

It would be better for me if I had worked ceaselessly and sold more paintings, but unfortunately it wasn’t the case. If it had been I would surely have had an atelier and wouldn’t have refused such fantastic offer of the Deutsche Bank. It will take a long time for this country to understand that a respected person doesn’t have to be the one with the party membership, but quite the opposite – it’s completely normal that the more you worth the lesser need for your political initiative is. That’s why this talented country of ours is full of unaccomplished people and many of them seek their way out in moving abroad.

 

15. At last, could you Mr.Prudnikoff say for "Urban" your viewpoint of modern art, of superfluity of performance arts and installations, and how do you envisage the future of fine and applied arts? 

 

Modern art has been created as a reaction to the looming of the photograph, and it’s the work of an artist who has removed an individual, a silhouette from the canvas. You can compare it with the situation after an earthquake when everything is in ruins. That’s modern art. The greater monstrosity or chaos on a painting, the greater exhilaration of modern critics! At a certain moment in the evolvement of painting the shape on a canvas disappears and the photograph itself becomes a work of art… The situation stabilizes even after an earthquake!

 

16. Why haven’t you been painting for more than five years? 

 

I wrote this to a friend of mine…. this January 2003.

———————–

 

I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the fate of our most famous actress Zanka Stokic?

 I’ve seen a TV program about that great actress today, and there’s been a lot of talk about her lately.

 Many talked in different media of her ill providence.

 

 During the WWW II, as many other actors,

 she performed humorous plays in some theatre…to earn for her medications

 because she was of poor health and needed the treatment.

 In 1945, because of that, she was deprived for seven years of her Civil Honour at the Court, and wasn’t allowed to perform in theatre.

 All that distressed the great actress badly and completely changed her life,

 so when, in 1947, she was notified that her "sins" had been forgiven she died three days after!

 The same thing is happening to me …

/politicians are always the same idiots/

 my flat was taken from me and given to a judge of the district court in 1995

 for painting Milosevic in 1989.

 There are papers for all that, and those same people (SPO, the ones that took it) joined him later…. took all control in Belgrade in their hands and stole as long as they could do so.

 I just painted him…in accordance with the request, but they were the ones who collaborated with him.

 

 All that killed Zanka Stokic who is today praised as our greatest theatre actress……… and I’m, thanks to the contacts on the Internet,

 preserving the only thing that is left to us

 and it is…….  HOPE! 

 PRUDNIKOFF 6
 
 
 

Yugoslavia, 1980, Europa: Tito & Prudnikov.
Van: Djordje Prudnikoff (prunikof@sbb.co.yu)
Verzonden:
maandag 10 maart 2008 8:38:29
                        PRUDNIKOFF tito
 
 
 
Slobodane, saljem Vam ovaj imejl…….cisto informacije radi!
 
  
Find Yugoslavia, 1980, Europa Tito Prudnikov. FDC in the Stamps , Europe , Other category on eBay.
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