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‘Walking the Sea’, 2013, Digital Video & Sound, 30 Minutes | © Courtesy of Anton Ginzburg
‘Walking the Sea’, 2013, Digital Video & Sound, 30 Minutes | © Courtesy of Anton Ginzburg
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Saint Petersburg To New York: Meet Artist Anton Ginzburg

Picture of Tori Chalmers
Updated: 28 December 2016
From intriguing photography to stunning sculptures and enthralling videos, talented New York artist and filmmaker Anton Ginzburg cleverly grasps the poetics of any space, tapping into the past as a way of evaluating the present. His art has been showcased in prestigious venues including the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York (to name a few). Ginzburg’s new work, Turo, will premiere at the Soluna International Music and Arts Festival in Dallas, Texas.

Who is Anton Ginzburg?

I am an artist, I was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia and I moved to America in 1990. After a brief stop in California, New York City became home.

Describe your art.

I was originally trained in painting, and yet my practice involves different mediums and materials. I work with video, public sculpture, photography, and installation. There are many exciting projects in the pipeline. Currently, I am working with the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to create a public sculpture. It’s a large stainless steel construction that explores space by framing areas of the sky and the landscape around it. The sculpture functions as an instrument rather than an ideological monument.

Does your Russian background influence your art?

Well, I grew up with Russian culture, and it is certainly part of my identity. However, it is not my main focus. I consider myself an American artist.

‘Anton Ginzburg’ By Rudolf Bekker | Courtesy of Anton Ginzburg
‘Anton Ginzburg’ By Rudolf Bekker | Courtesy of Anton Ginzburg

What made you gravitate towards Dallas for the Soluna Festival?

After my exhibition in Houston at the Blaffer Art Museum, I got into conversation with the curators of Soluna. They were incredibly supportive of my work, which led to an opportunity of us working together.

Do you have a favorite myth or legend?

I am working on the territory of ‘fictionalized non-fiction’. My current project Turo deals with modernist mythologies. Growing up in the neo-classical city of Saint Petersburg meant that I was exposed to classical mythology from a young age. I am interested in an anthropological approach to art – I use this lens as a practice to create knowledge about the world around us.

Can you talk about your new video Turo?

Yes. Turo (which means ‘Tower’ in Esperanto) is a film that focuses on Constructivist architecture and explores several buildings that I filmed in Moscow last summer. Two parts of the film will be featured at Soluna with live performances from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Media theorist Marshall McLuhan described the modern environment as a movement from the Ivory Tower to Control Tower, which I explore in my film.

Did you choose the music that is featured in Turo?

It was a collaborative process amongst the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the curators of Soluna and myself.

‘Turo’, 2016, Digital Video & Sound, 34 Minutes | © Anton Ginzburg
Turo, 2016, Digital Video & Sound, 34 Minutes | © Anton Ginzburg

Do you have a favorite type of architecture?

I have been exploring and researching Modernist architecture for the past several years now. Turo deals with the Constructivist period. It was a movement towards universalism in various aspects of human life.

What methods do you use when you embark on new work?

Discovering the poetics of a space is important. I research the subject and try to engage with the environment by experiencing it in person.

What is the story behind your Houston exhibition Waking the Sea?

Walking the Sea is about the Aral Sea, a dried up sea that was located between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The disappearance of this sea happened in a blink and was a major ecological catastrophe of the 20th century. I created a narrative and engaged with the landscape by walking across the sea carrying a large mirrored structure on my back. The exhibition involved film as well as sculptural work, photography, and tapestry.

‘Walking the Sea’, 2013, Digital Video & Sound, 30 Minutes | © Anton Ginzburg
Walking the Sea, 2013, Digital Video & Sound, 30 Minutes | © Courtesy of Anton Ginzburg

What do you like about Texas?

I think that Texas is a fascinating place. The museum collections are impressive and the art community has been very supportive. I am pleased to be coming back.

Do you consider yourself a wanderer?

I suppose so. My personal history involves changing locations and in a way, I have lived a nomadic lifestyle. I like walking – it produces nothing but thoughts.

‘Walking the Sea’, 2013, Digital Video & Sound, 30 Minutes | © Anton Ginzburg
Walking the Sea, 2013, Digital Video & Sound, 30 Minutes | © Courtesy of Anton Ginzburg

What is your idea of a Utopia?

It’s a mental construct.

What is your favorite medium to use?

I like to move between mediums. Each medium has its own logic and limitations.

Can you talk about the meaning behind the red smoke in your work Hyperborea?

Interesting subject. The red smoke for me is a collective memory of the golden age and a way to engage with the landscape without altering it.

‘Hyperborea’, 2011, Digital Video & Sound, 45 Minutes | © Anton Ginzburg
Hyperborea, 2011, Digital Video & Sound, 45 Minutes | © Anton Ginzburg

What do you shoot film on?

I tend to shoot most things on the RED camera.

Favorite color?

It all depends on my mood and the time of day.

Canon or Nikon?

Canon.

Where would you go if you could teleport to anywhere in the world?

To my screening in Dallas.

So, what next?

I have a group show coming up in London at Calvert 22 and a solo museum show in Canada later this year. I am also looking forward to upcoming public sculpture commissions.

'Hyperborea', 2011, 45 Minutes, Digital Video & Sound | © Courtesy of Anton Ginzburg
Hyperborea, 2011, 45 Minutes, Digital Video & Sound | © Courtesy of Anton Ginzburg