…in which your host kicks the new season of Artipoeus off with a little Nostrovia.
Welcome to Artipoeus, art… you can hear.
This week, Artipoeus talks to Russian performance artist, Leonid Tsoy.
In 2015, while I was still living in Paris, the curator and artist Anna Ten was putting together a group exhibit and performance festival in Paris between Russian and Ukrainian artists at a point when relations between the two countries were violently escalating. She organized plane fare and accommodation for the visiting groups, but found herself short on housing for a couple of Russians at the last minute. I thought hosting a Russian artist could be an interesting way to spend a week, so I volunteered to put one person up in my flat in Paris. I was assigned the performance artist Leonid Tsoy.
I opened my door to a man about my height, jet black hair tied in a messy man bun, scruffy beard, a kind but unreadable face, who was doggedly shuffling up the steps the same way Toshiro Mifune shuffled into that fateful town in Yojimbo. He settled into my living room, offered me pizza and port wine, and so began our friendship.
Leo lives and works in St Petersburg, Russia. He works as a private psychologist, and with the charity group Perspektivy, where he helps run arts programs for severely disabled adults. As an artist, he is a member of the art collective Bobo, which focuses on art in intimate spaces, from your inside your home to — as Leo puts it — the intimate space inside your skull. He also is a member of Rodina, an art collective that focuses on political performance art. As an independent artist, he has performed in both Europe and Russia, and still occasonally indulges in visual art and drawing, including his very cool concept graphic novel, Learn Chinese from Mutant Women.
Leo and I have continued our friendship via messenger and Skype, with Leo telling me things about life in Russia that never get into the news, like the AIDS epidemic there, or the systematic destruction of food shipments to Russia while people are starving. I share tidbits of American culture, film recommendations and my thoughts about art, politics and society. We have often discussed the benefits of an American-Russian collaboration, although we never had our own governments in mind… until now, of course.
I sat down with Leo to talk about where things are going for artists, the importance of artists to this brave new world, and Leo’s political performance work with the group Rodina.
Check out our Facebook page for links to Leo’s work with Rodina, Bobo, Work for Food Project and Perspectivy Art Studio. We’re at http://facebook.com/artipoeus.
Artipoeus. Art you can hear!
You can find Leonid Tsoy’s Glarify profile here: https://www.glarify.com/leo.zzoy/
Brought to you by Susie Kahlich from Artipoeus