Alexandra Rudyk: Russian culture loves youth. How do you feel about the cult of youth? The cult of novelty? 

Alexander Melamid: Modernism is predicated on the cult of novelty. Now everything is possible, but there is nothing new. Some people think that time is like a river. I think time is rather like a swamp. We flounder there; we swim in it, creating a wave, which gives rise to the illusion that something is happening. We go down glug-glug! making bubbles, then we push off and rise to the surface. Phew! We flail about for a while and then go down again. In America the old are appreciated. From time to time some noteless artist is discovered. Eighty-seven years old, forgotten, but, look, he is a genius. Even death now cannot get us. It is inspiring.

AR: How to balance between the ridiculous and the terrible without crossing the line?

AM: I suggest you should cross the line. People are timid and art is just a trifle that has grown into a matter of great importance. It has happened mainly due to fascism and communism, before that there was no widespread cult of art. The whole 20th century is devoted to art. Picasso, Shostakovich, bump bump bump! are geniuses. I am a genius too. And if you are a genius, be you a president, a musician or an artist, you are an absolute genius. This is a particular mystical power, which was previously attributed to religious figures.

AR: How did you realize that you were a genius?

AM: Donald Trump called himself a genius. I was completely amazed. Oh! If he is a genius, then I am undoubtedly a genius.

AR: Have you noticed that irony has gone from contemporary art? What has happened to it?

AM: Art was never ironical. Jesus Christ never smiled, this is a serious matter.

AR: At least there was irony in your work.

AM: We are an exception. In general, I think that art is utter nonsense. It is a fal- lacious belief system. Becoming an artist now is similar to entering a convent in the past. What for? They produce a huge number of objects that will never be shown to the public. Art is the most meaningless production that has ever existed in human history. This is an intellectual disaster. Since this rubbish is easy to produce, the number of works is ever growing and society supports it by saying “creators and artists are around us.”

All this should be burned, there are not enough walls in the world and there never will be.


February 11, 2019