What constitutes contemporary art for you personally? 

It depends on the mood. Very often it seems to be a frightening nightmare from which one cannot rid oneself. I spent some years searching for cities without contemporary art. I feel fine, calm and comfortable. Nowadays it is becoming tough to find such cities. One has to get used to contemporary art as something completely ordinary.

What is your role in today’s art scene? 

I cannot estimate my role. It’s up to the others to decide. Even so, perhaps even they will find it difficult to say what anyone’s role is.

What connects new and old art? 

The word “art” itself which appears both in “new art” and “old art.” It wouldn’t be out of the question to consider what the word “art” means and where it comes from. In Russian, the word for “art” – «искусство» – derives from «искушение» or «искус» – literally “temptation.” Art is both, and at the same time, a certain sophistication one gains after having experienced temptation. Still, even someone who has experienced one temptation is not safe from being slammed by another temptation.

What was the turning point in your career? 

I was 13, and I decided to transfer from the regular school next to our house (I hated that school with all the fibers of my being) to an excellent school for young workers that was located in Moscow’s Degtyarny Lane. We studied four days each week. We didn’t have to wear school uniforms, and there were neither pioneers or the Komsomol. To enroll, one had to present references from a place of employment. I am still very proud that at that time I worked in the Funny Pictures magazine. I obtained the relevant references. The magazine’s logo drawn by my dad (editor’s note: the artist Victor Pivovarov) was printed on the letterhead. It depicted colorful animated characters: Karandash, Hurvinek, and Thumbelina. That was especially gratifying. I was enrolled and came to see myself as a part of the young workers.

Who influenced your art at different points in your life? 

Innumerable people. I am a person who is easily influenced. When I receive guests, they immediately begin affecting me. Even after they leave me, I still fill their influence. Even if they didn’t come, the fact that they didn't come still influences me. But, of course, my parents exuded the most profound influence on me. They were a part of the Moscow conceptualism movement, and I joined those social circles with great delight. That group influenced me profoundly.

What subject matter in the outer world inspires you, fascinates you and unleashes your creativity? 

I am fascinated by the very notion of subject matter. It can appear suddenly in an unexpected place. I am immensely inspired by the ability of life to create subject matter. We can replace the word “subject” by the word “intrigue” which suggests something mysterious. In this respect life, today does not differ significantly from life yesterday. However, we do not know how it will vary from life tomorrow, and this is intriguing.

How would you describe the contemporary art of Russia within the wider context of international art? 

I see international art as a turbulent river of bullshit. In the middle of that river there is, however, a lush green island full of gemstones. That island is contemporary Russian art. This is a rather patriotic statement, but I am not ashamed of it.

Tell us a few words about the piece on the cover of Boscomagazine. 

It’s unforgettable. I was asked to create a drawing on the theme of “Family.” I drew three generations of a family and even included a cat and a dog. The heads of all family members were done in a suprematist style: a black square, a red triangle, etc. Here we have the basic idea of an ideal family. Everyone can imagine one’s loved ones in the place of these geometrical shapes.

What does the word “family” mean to you? 

Psychiatry speaks about the so-called dissociative identity disorder where a personality is usually divided into two halves. I would say that such a disorder can result in up to seven distinct characters, and family is a representative of that: seven personalities united together. Of course, there can be even 17 or 82 personalities, and there is no limit. The latter phenomenon is a multiphrenic disorder.

Why do people create communities? 

The primary, the most basic goal is to survive. After that goal is fulfilled, one begins to crave all kinds of pleasures, joys, and happiness. To obtain these pleasures, we still must create communities. That is to say, there are communities for survival and communities for pleasures. Karl Marx probably would describe them as “base communities” and “superstructure communities.” Naturally, we value the latter more.

How should a neophyte approach contemporary art? 

I don’t know. I would say that such a viewer is an ideal audience. I, for one, always dream of such an audience. A viewer who knows nothing but he is still kind, open-hearted, he usually comes to the exhibition after some pleasant experience. Maybe he has a date with a beautiful girl. This is the ideal audience, at least, for my artworks.

Why and how should one buy contemporary artworks? 

One should buy numerous pieces of contemporary arts and at the highest prices. Why? I don’t rightly know. It is an inappropriate question. Let’s pretend that this question was not posed to me. In truth, one can readily explain why one should buy. To buy contemporary art is to receive absolution. In the Middle Ages, one could obtain an absolution to save one’s soul. Nowadays, contemporary art plays the same role.