Russian born Ina Ciumakova grew up in Šilutė, Lithuania, where she obtained a bachelor’s in philosophy from Vilnius University, which was followed by a Master’s degree in Cultural Studies at the KU Leuven University in Belgium.
Ina was recently awarded with the Erasmus Mundus Excellence Scholarship for participation in the Media Arts Cultures program. The Joint Master’s degree allowed her to specialize in New Media Curation, Digital Heritage, Interactive Installation and Experience Design at the University of Lodz in Poland, Aalborg University in Denmark and Donau-Universität Krems in Austria.
She has worked both as an official curatorial Assistant and as an artist residency official assistant throughout Europe, representing the members of the artist collective Instrument Inventors Initiative, also known as ‘iii’ in The Hague. She was engaged in the European Artist Residency Network SoCCoS at sound art laboratory Q-02 in Brussels; and acted as main curatorial Assistant for the International Sound Art Curating Conference at the Media Arts Center in Karlsruhe in Germany. In 2017, her artistic work was presented at Nime Conference in Copenhagen and Ars Electronica in Austria, and most recently at Cashmere Radio and Binz39 in Zürich.
Her continuous travels and professional experiences at a large variety of art related organizations gave her the opportunity to sense the pulse of the international art field from different perspectives.
For Ina, being surrounded by creativity and creative individuals has become part of her job and influences her life. Ina is fascinated by Media Art and Sound Art, but is also passionate about Photography, Cinema and Music. Her current line of research is focused on Sound-based Art.
Ina, what is Art for you?
It’s an interrogation of reality. Art suspends our ordinary beliefs and creates space for imagination, magic and reinvention of common ground.
When did you get in touch for the first time with art?
As a kid, I used to draw a lot, so I ended up in art class pretty early, where we used to analyse artworks. After school, I spent considerable amount of time reading poetry books in my grandmother’s library. I guess these were my first serious encounters with art. Though, if to think of real first love for art, at the age of 11 or 12 I felt something very strong for the French impressionist Claude Monet, particularly his series of paintings of ponds (Les Nymphéas). I was completely fascinated by the colours he used, and by the mysterious feeling it evoked in me.
Why did you decide to work in the field of art? What do you like most about the profession?
Being surrounded by curious and creative people is the best part of my profession. And since I was always surrounded by creative people who admire literature, photography, dance and specially film and music, I never thought I could do anything outside of these fields. I naturally keep my eye on designers’ works, the researched perception and materials that they have to offer. I also enjoy site-specific urban interventions, that change the meaning of things and places for a while, and keeps us wondering about more universal and abstract things. And these are the things in this field, that I like the most.
Throughout your career you worked with a variety of artists and curators. In your own words, how would you describe this experience?
Yes, I worked with several very different curators and artists in the past years. It’s always been quite challenging experience. There’s always a lot of energy to be devoted to the projects, there’s always strong personalities around, so it’s very important to be a good listener and be able to negotiate. Finding solutions for specific situations is also part of the job. So yes, it’s definitely challenging, but in the end, it’s the most enriching and eye-opening experience.
Which Contemporary Art exhibition or Art Fair would you strongly recommend to visit?
I’m interested in Media, Sound and Interactive arts, so I would definitely recommend Aldo Tambellini’s “Black Matters” at Media Art Centre (ZKM Karlsruhe). This was a temporary exhibition, that took place last year though, but maybe it was transported elsewhere. I would suggest the permanent collection of the Contemporary and Modern Art Museum in Strasbourg for lovers of Surrealism - each room is different, and it’s simply great to loose the track of time.
Which emerging artist(s) have impressed you lately?
Definitely, Soline Heurtebise, who does some marvellous and very dense, detailed pencil drawings. Female figure is the most occurring motif. Noémie Asper’s time-based installations and sculptures are mind provoking. Asper works with antagonistic materials, such as fragile blue glass next to massive grey and boring concrete, she models hot and almost boiling asphalt on top of fragile Persian carpet. Challenging works, multi-layered concepts. Both artists are living and working in Brussels at the moment.
Which art trends have you noticed this year?
Many artists these days reflect on the question of technology and the role it plays in our lives. So in music and in visual arts there’s a lot of ideas originating from the interaction with technology. Depending on the country you go to, you might encounter different artistic styles, having completely opposite opinions about the same thing. And that’s interesting. I spent some time in Poland, where I’ve had some discussions about the role computers play in the creative process, about algorithmic music, performances with robots and so on. On the other hand, I would notice more and more public artistic interventions happening in my street. None of these could be really classified as trends.
Any tip you can give to an emerging artist?
When you’re bored or turn in circles: collaboration, joining forces with other artists, might be a very exciting experience. Be it common project with more experienced artists, who already has a very articulated manner of working and are familiar with their creative process, be it with the younger artists, who widely explore everything on their way, and are more/less experimental than you. Going outside your comfort zone is challenging, but these moments when your feet barely touch the ground are very stimulating.
Any tip you can give someone who wants to start their own art collection?
The perception of the eye, and of the ear, is something that is acquired and expanded gradually. So the best advice to begin with your collection is trusting your intuition. Get familiar with the artist you appreciate, read about them, ask questions. The artworks, that you fall in love with, should only become more fascinating in the course of the time.
Please tell us about your curated choice of Artig Gallery’s artworks. What has inspired you for the selection? Which concept did you have in mind?
I’ve chosen the artworks, that are intriguing in the way they narrate the visual story - that provoke a natural desire to slow down and let your eyes wonder for a moment.
So, to begin with, I would start with pictures of photographer Martina Matencio. She plays with the concept of portrait, and explores the sensuality of modern female. Her approach to sensuality is expressed through gestures and colours (natural light, naked skin, warm colours, seductive textures). Instead of exposing the face, le visage, of her models, she’s hiding them under the layers of shadows (Even) or objects (Vuestros Ojos). The magic of these images is that they remain somehow impenetrable - we only get to see the tip of the iceberg.
The second part of the selection is dedicated to the topic of contemporary landscape. Both Sara Janini and Roger Grasas directs the viewers’ attention to the paradoxes of the modern world. In this regard, Janini’s Blackroads 05 and Grasas’s Inshallah 03 resonate with each other very strongly. We stand in front of the endless horizon, which for many years was considered the source of sublime beauty - majestic mountains, glorious desert, untouched nature, wilderness. But then came industrialization, occupying these vast lands for the sake of production of goods. This changed the inner relationships between people in these places, and their relationship with these places. Next came globalization, tourism, commerce… You can read these images as visual poetry, where this radical and poignant change is depicted with a lot of sensitivity. Needless to say, for Janini, the contemporary world if full on new mythologies, equally worth exploration.
The third part of the selection falls under the topic of the familiarity, intimacy. I’m somehow convinced, that places, things and people that surround us daily, make the most influence on us. And on this scale, I think that paintings of Luis Gomez Macpherson and Marie Tooth, share rather simple, though very intimate moments. Macpherson’s Passage (esp. Pasadizo) - looks like the passageway I personally have to take every single day in order to get to the main street - long, a bit gloomy, not always very promising, but something very familiar. By looking at this painting, I feel like I can contemplate the fact that I pass there everyday. I cannot change anything about that fact, about that daily action, but I find it so surprising that I never paid attention to that place. And in this sense, this painting is enlightening.
Tooth’s painting Tether, also has something to do with the feeling of familiarity. Though the angle is slightly different here - we are asked to take some distance from our own body, in order to observe the body of the other(s). We are asked to imagine the inner connection of these two bodies, that tightly hold hands, have, the intimacy that they share, maybe even fears or tensions. Are they in symbiotic relationship? The title would suggest so.
What kind of spectator would enjoy this selection?
Travelling poets, I guess.
Thank you for your time.
The pleasure is all mine.