MYK is a Russian interdisciplinary art group based in Siberia, Russia.
The group was born in 2019 and is formed by Evgeny Lemeshonok, Vladimir Bocharov, Polina Kardymon, and Denis Frank. Later on, Sergei Chekhov also joins the group.
It is difficult to place the group in an artistic category or in a main means of expression, they express themselves from performance to theatre, to sound installations, to drawing to painting. Perhaps this is their strength and power, the total rethinking of a system in which they have no place.
Chambre Fluide: Hello! Let's start talking about the art group: Who is MYK? Could you tell us more about how the collective was born?
MYK: Hello! MYK is an art group formed by Evgeny Lemeshonok, Vladimir Bocharov, Polina Kardymon, and Denis Frank.
We united in the spring of 2019 when we decided to create an exhibition Open Field, before the exhibition we worked on the play Fragments of a Love Speech at the Globus Theater, but that time Polina acted as a director and Denis, Zhenya, and Vova - Were part of a sound art group called presidiomodelo.
Now we are in five. Indeed, not so long, the director Sergei Chekhov joined us, and in this composition, we released the most resonating project in the city Limit at the metro station Ploshchad Garina-Mikhailovsky.
We are linked to the theatre but we have united also because we were not satisfied with the theater institution, and by the system as a whole. We want to create an environment of horizontal connections in which we will do interdisciplinary projects.
All of our already created projects are aimed exactly at this. We called us "artists" and we adhere to the general name "artist", but we came from different backgrounds.
CF: Can you talk about your personal relationship with your country, Russia? What role does the community have for you?
SEREZHA: Yes, in Russia everything is interesting. Because it's clear that we are constantly in reflections and mental opposition to all the political and social discourse we have in our country.
At the same time, now, I feel part of Russia, and it’s not about patriotism, not about love for your homeland, it’s about the fact that I, as a small part of the whole, I have all the signs of this whole. It seems I appear clumsy, inflexible, and embittered as this country. But I finally realized that it's not me as a country, but a country like me. That is, I make a country like that. In general, we have a separate inability to articulate a political agenda in art. We have absorbed some disgust for this topic as if it were reprehensible to engage in political art. It seems that now is the time to powerfully recombine and reassemble these ideas, and to enter the space of a completely new principle of politically in art, tied primarily to creating an environment that is different from the institutional one, and provoking through this a new sensory experience, the experience of personal emancipation in the field of one's own inner lack of freedom.
ZHENYA: In Russia, there seem to be three positions, like: "I am with the state", "I am against the state", and "I am digging tunnels". Our position is to dig tunnels.
Under the ground, there is a bit of air, a little light, a few other resources, but it is this system of underground communications that gives rise to true complexity and meaningfulness. Our potential community could be like lone diggers in helmets with flashlights. But remembering Roald Dahl and his magnificent Mr. Fox, strength is in complex underground communications and when we get to the bottom of each other and unite into a network, then probably the realization of a single field will come, unity field which exists in itself, exists outside the system of the state, and this field is real Russia.
In the meantime, the real Russia is underground and we must continue to dig with flashlights on our foreheads.
CF: What do you mean when in the description of your way of proceeding you say you want to eliminate boundaries and artificial structures, and what are these barriers for you to eliminate?
ZHENYA: “Eliminate” is not the right word. It is more about effective rethinking, in the conventional art, there are established systems of relationships, between the artist and the state, between the artist and the customer (which is often the same thing), between the artist and an artist, (there is a long list), and so, all these systems already exist and have proven their (sorry) efficiency many thousand times, but the world does not stand still, which means it requires more and more new systems, sometimes they cancel old ones, and sometimes they confirm their correctness, everything is in progress.
CF: How does your research develop? Where do you collect your inspiration from?
POLINA: Due to the lockdown, we have suspended our activities and are developing new projects, for example, MYK Theater is a multi-part online project in which we go on an expedition to a specific point in the city, record sounds and videos unique to this place and create in the future, the audiovisual work of our feelings and words from this place on the map of the city, and now a video project Temple of Noise is being prepared.
We placed the art object The Spirit of Noise in the 107-year-old tunnel-overpass, and through this gesture, we created the space of the mythical city temple. In November, we plan to open an exhibition for bacteria colonized by us named "Contact", for each colony of bacteria, a picture will be painted and its own sound environment will be created.
CF: MYK conceives the work in space at 360 degrees. Is there, in your performances, an intention of involvement and participation by the audience, or does it remain a theatrical representation where you operate as if on a stage aimed at an observant audience? What is the relationship with the viewer, the spectator?
VOVA: We thought the viewer as a full participant and co-creator of our works. However, this is true only in the case the viewer shows active sensual and intellectual attention and is not just an observer.
The total participation and the immersion of the viewer and the public in our performances and works is our goal.
We want the viewer to be free to choose whether to get involved or not. For example, in the "Limit project", we provided the viewer with the opportunity to physically join the process, to become direct accomplices of what is happening. However, we didn't call for this directly, so as not to control the behavior of the viewer, but only provided him with space for his own discoveries, we want the spectator to make personal decisions.
CF: What importance does sound have in your works?
ZHENYA: Art and artists play the same role as always, they create media entities, invent names for new phenomena or reinterpret old ones, connect concepts, mix colors and postulate forms, put scattered sounds into structures, expand the boundaries of harmonies. But the new artists also faced a new challenge - interdisciplinarity, we must look at Leonardo da Vinci as a reference and be artists in the broadest sense of the word. Therefore, music for us is literally everything: it is color, it is formed, it is construction, it is meaning and, of course, sound.