Black, clean and monumental: Lithuanian artist Tadao Cern in conversation with Maria Abramenko about his creative process and inspirations.
Why black balloons?
It was a perfect fit for the time and place. I played around with few of them in my studio, without having any expectations and all of a sudden experiment of connecting them together came as a revelation. They became alive. They were holding each other. Lifeless objects started taking care of themselves.
I was always fascinated by our ability(or a flaw) to feel for something that has no feeling in themselves. It’s like we are becoming lost in a maze that we have created ourselves. Compositions started to grow covering more and more aspects that I was interested in: the contradictions between what is real and what is not; personification of lifeless objects; most importantly – nothingness. True meaningless emptiness that I feel every single time looking at that forest of Black Balloons waiting to react to something. No message, no notion… just a fact of them being here and now. Which will become just a reminiscence of an idea once balloons will deflate in a couple of days and the work will become non existent again.
How do you usually operate within the space of an installation?
The space needs to be like a vacuum, that is not adding anything extra to the installation itself. I’m not trying to find or embrace a dialog between the art work and a space, because there is non or it is not my priority in this particular case. Space serves only as a shelter housing an idea for a very short period of time. I’m only looking for something that has as little distractions as possible.
Where did you struggle to install the most?
Outside. Did it once – never doing it again. To create or to maintain an installation indoors is already a big challenge, because there are to many variables and compositions are very fragile. More importantly, no matter where the installation is shown, most of the people who see a round, shiny and inflated object become like dogs without a leash. Everyone is familiar with a notion that art pieces in galleries and museums can not be touched, but for some beautiful reason this is forgotten once a visitor encounters a balloon. I’ve witnessed a destruction of my work just in front of me and once that happens, people wake up from a dream realising what they have done and that they were not in control of their own actions. At first that was very frustrating to me, but later on I started enjoying this, because I understood that I have created not only just a visual concept, but a key to our animalistic and well hidden behaviours. Japan is the only place where I found a very different approach to Black Balloons. I would guess that for cultural reasons these installations there gain different value and that artificial singularity is enjoyed without touching because that would destroy the moment.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects.
It’s always the best if projects speak for themselves. And visual ideas first of all need to be experienced visually. In some cases explanations are not even needed. I would be very happy if I could avoid speaking about my work, because in many cases I’m the same spectator as anyone else in the room. So I try not to have any plans and I see myself only as a tool, not a creator per se. So my opinion about my own work in equal to every single one standing next to me.