Anya discusses ‘what is painting now?’ and life on the course.
Anya Charikov-Mickleburgh is an artist. She graduated in 2012 from the BA (Hons) Fine Art course.
Please tell us about your work
My on-going practice aims to determine whether it is possible to find an answer to the question “What is a painting now?” while we are going through a global economic crisis across Europe and America, a period of constant demonstrations and protests against the Capitalist system.
Combining this with my subject matter The Eaters & Eaten, I would then like to pose the question: Who enjoys the act of feasting and what is involved in this indulgent consumption? At the same time does this suggest an underlying revulsion at the idea of desire and drive?
My practice delves into desire as an extreme, powerful force in human activities. The realisation of desire does not consist of it being ‘fulfilled, fully satisfied’ (Zizek, 1992), it coincides rather with the reproduction of desire as such, with its circular movement. We can’t be content with our desire: there’s just not enough in the world.
My paintings are to satisfy as an idiosyncratic cocktail of human desire and drive, pleasure and needs, appetite and taste which are gradually mutated into horrors of indulgence and greed, pain and distress, lust and gluttony. Linking my practice and the critical studies to a symbolic dimension I aim to make something beautiful but at the same time to evoke a notion of disgust, represented as seductive desire that forces us into ‘pleasure’ – insisting that it be enjoyed while we strive against it with all our might.
How did you hear about CSM?
I heard about CSM in Russia and when I moved to the UK. I always had a strong desire to study there and take an active part in this amazing and vibrant place. I applied to study at CSM after finishing a Foundation course and one year on BA (Hons) Contemporary Fine Art practice in Hull School of Art. I still clearly remember my feelings going for an interview: the excitement of the moment I first stepped through the door of this well-established college. Two weeks after, I had been offered a place.
What is it like to study here? How would you describe the atmosphere and the people?
CSM is a great place to study and be involved with. There is a wonderful atmosphere and a strong sense of community. I have met so many interesting people from the day I started the course and built up my friendship with some fellow students. As a group, we got involved in a few art projects, organising group shows and exhibitions, outside of CSM. I think it is very important to find people who you can relate to and support each other.
What is a typical day like?
Arriving early in the morning I would pick up a cup of tea and head straight to my studio space to review what I had done the previous day. I would then continue with whatever I was working on before heading off to the library to peruse the shelves to stimulate and inspire me. CSM has amazing learning resources, just wandering through the book shelves I found some great references which were relevant to my art practice. The studios, library, workshops and seminars are there for everyone and I thought it would be a crime not to use them. I would return to the studio until the evening, going home and continue reading into the night. There was never enough time to do everything I wanted.
What do you hope to go on to do?
After graduation, I was involved with the 2012 Olympics as a performer at the Opening & Closing ceremonies. Since September, I have worked as an assistant to British contemporary artist, Hew Locke, which I have found a highly valuable experience. Recently I got myself a studio where I continue my painting practice. Also, this year I intend to apply for an MA course.