"I hope my work will travel through time"
Olga Kisseleva, what is your definition of an artist?
I believe an artist is here to make the world better, searching for anything that is wrong and trying to fix it. Or at least make some proposal to people who are able to do so. As an artist, I always try to be part of the solution. If you stay in your studio you won't change the world. And I believe an artist needs the help from sociologists, scientists, philosophers, politicians and sometimes even from cognac-makers!
Where does your fascination for symbols come from?
When I was an art student in St. Petersburg I was fascinated by the narrative richness of 17th century art and especially by Dutch paintings. Back then, artists were able to tell many things with simple objects using strong symbolism. Since then I always dreamed of creating art with a suggestive power. Hennessy gave me this opportunity.
What can you tell us about your experience working with Hennessy?
When I went to Cognac I found a lot of objects rich in symbols in the Maison’s archives. I was allowed to play with them and to mix them with objects coming from my personal soviet archives (in the USSR we had a very special relation with spirits like cognac). The result of this blending process is a kind of fairy tale that we see in the video. I was very lucky and got a lot from this collaboration, it felt like accomplishing a dream.
What is the message you want to share with this work?
The video I created is something very human. Hennessy is a very big and sophisticated house that can be intimidating, especially for Russian people. But when you discover this story, told with very few and simple objects dancing in front of you, it becomes very human and welcoming. The message behind the story I’m telling is: to make something sophisticated you need to have a long line of people doing simple but very precise operations. Perfection is all about precision and timing.
How do you see your work evolve in the next 50 years?
I don’t know if my work will be different in 50 years but I’m hoping that it will still be in museum and collections. It is important for artists to have their works kept in collections where they are well protected. A work that stays in a studio dies. Now that Hennessy has started this new collection, I hope my work will travel through time. And I trust Hennessy for knowing something about time travel.