Flowers of Life by Ludmila Anoshenkova
Ludmila Anoshenkova is a multimedia artist. She creates artistic projects using watercolour, oil, text, animation, and even apps on her smartphone. Her works are political, deep, socially relevant and also very elegant and accurate. Ms. Anoshenkova sees her path in the power of ‘small steps’. She understands that it is possible to talk about the eternal or modern topics both standing in front of a megaphone and in the silence of the art studio.
multimedia artist, art blogger
Ludmila Anoshenkova is an artist with a rather atypical education. She graduated from the Faculty of Economics and achieved considerable success in the financial sector. At the same time, she has always felt a passion for art and creativity. That is why she mastered a completely new sphere of activity simultaneously with her work. Ms. Anoshenkova graduated from the Free Workshops at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art and then from the Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia. The artist also studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna for two years.
All that helped Ludmila Anoshenkova not only come into art consciously and purposefully but also become a versatile personality with a ‘balanced intellect’. Many of the artist’s projects combine sensuality and rationalism, emotionality and deep context. Today, Ms. Anoshenkova is mostly engaged in painting. However, she does not limit herself to this direction and positions herself as a multimedia artist.
– Ludmila, what creative projects are the most important for you today?
– Globally speaking, as an artist, I would like to contribute to the history of art, to ‘refresh’ the language of painting. This is partly the focus of many of my works.
Today, I’m paying a lot of attention to the Flowers of Life project. I seek to show personal stories of artists through the image of plants on canvases. At the same time, it is a fairly deep project, in which I also demonstrate personal political impotence, a deadlock in the articulation of the artistic task, an inability to resist the system.
I was seriously impressed by the story of a German expressionist painter named Emil Nolde. He was a member of the National Socialist German Workers Party. He declared the superiority of German art openly. Despite this, in 1937 his work was declared degenerate. It was forbidden for the artist himself to work. He went to the countryside and arranged a garden there. He painted flowers and sunsets secretly. He buried his artworks in the ground under a bush, and used not oil, but watercolour as materials because it didn’t have such a strong smell. Drawing helped Emil Nolde curb his anger and cool down his patriotic fervor.
I also often depict flowers in my works. I am concerned about acute topics including political ones. However, I like to talk about them ‘softly’, through art and stories, rather than engaging in destructive struggles.
I’m also very interested in the genre of mockumentary. It describes fictional stories told in a documentary format through different art forms. My project called The Box was created in this genre. A beautiful Chinese tea box which contained small watercolour paintings of flowers served as a visual component. A story that I made up based on a real case became the narrative element of the project. There is a large company in China that employs a huge number of people on its assembly lines. These employees live in tiny dormitory rooms and see nothing but the dull walls of the factory and their homes. More than 10 people have committed suicide on the company’s premises in a short period of time. I wrote a story about buying a box of watercolours on the net for a ridiculous price. It was interesting for me to find out who painted these pieces of art and why they were being sold so cheaply. It turned out that the watercolours belonged to one of the employees of that very factory. Probably, it was drawing that helped him cope with the oppressive atmosphere of reality for a long time.
– Does that mean that you are an artist communicating your thoughts to the audience through not only paintings but also text?
– Indeed. I call it narrative. When I am invited to take part in exhibitions, I often supplement all my visual works with texts. They help the viewer to decode my intentions and ideas. They are also a continuation of the project, a harmonious part of the whole work.
In some projects, such narratives play a key role. For example, once I carried out a big study dedicated to the self-fulfilment of women mothers in art. I decided to do it after the statement of an artist named Marina Abramovich. She told that not having children was her conscious choice: it was more important for her to fulfil herself in art, which required an enormous amount of effort, attention, and time. The story of another artist I knew, who faced difficulties in her professional environment after giving birth to a child became another impetus for me to create this project. She was not allowed to cooperate because of being a single mother and not having the opportunity to immerse herself in her art ‘fully’.
I started interviewing artists including both women and men. We discussed the challenges faced by artists who are also parents. It turned out that problems do exist. The interviews became a key part of my creative project.
Art is a very effective tool to influence people and their thinking. Through their works, artists can draw the attention of humanity to issues and problems that concern them. Today, there are a huge number of formats and materials for that.
– You are not only an artist but also a mother. How do you manage to combine these two responsible roles?
– Fortunately, we have a clear partnership in our family. My husband appreciates my work very much. I’m bringing up two children and he considers it a full-time job.
Of course, it is not easy to be creative under these conditions. Creativity requires complete immersion, concentration, and a certain distance from reality. I cannot give up art. Creativity is a vital need for me. It is an opportunity to relax the mind and a way to fulfil my ambitions. That’s why I always try to find time and space in the studio, which I rent with other artists.
– Do you bring up a love of art in your children?
– I try to involve them in the artistic world gradually. We go to museums and galleries. Recently, I participated in an exhibition project organised by the Gogol House in Moscow together with my daughter. According to its concept, children of artists drew their parents and parents drew their children. My daughter drew me on a big canvas and I made a small collage. That’s how our work resulted in a harmonious joint project.
For me, it is very important to carry out educational activities. I used to be a girl from a small town near Moscow with little understanding of art. Now I am ashamed to say that I did not know even the basics related to the works of great artists in my early youth. After receiving a special education, I realized how important culture can be for a person.
I can’t get over the fact that, in today’s world full of information, there are still not enough quality sources of knowledge about art to attract and interest young people.
That is why I decided to create my own blog on Instagram. Within this project, I managed to combine graphic art, multimedia creativity, and art education. I create animated posts supplemented with interesting facts and texts. Although the development of the blog requires tremendous effort and I do not always have enough time and energy, I am glad that I can ‘bring at least a drop of clean water’ into such a ‘cultural and educational sea’.
– What would you wish women of the world?
– I would wish them never to become a hostage to their circumstances or situation. Never be afraid to push the boundaries in front of you if you feel that you are being disadvantaged or restricted in some way.
Do what echoes in your heart and brings use to the world. Move gradually and smoothly towards your goal. Don’t give up your principles. Then your voice will be heard.
This is the concept I also put into my art. I am not fighting and do not call for a fight despite the fact that I often touch upon rather acute topics. Contemporary art is not just about beauty and originality: it’s about meanings and ideas. And the artist’s main responsibility is how and what he or she will talk about through his or her works.
Viktoria Yezhova, Global Women Media news agency
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov