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Interview 29. July 2005
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Interview: Senko Studio and Kforumvienna
Elena Basteri met up with Sergei Sviatchenko from Senko Studio og Aldo Giannotti og Jessica Wyschka from Kforumvienna in Vienna and asked them about their commen grounds and intentions.

Text by Elena Basteri
Photo by Gianmaria Gava
Click here for Danish version
Fertile Ground
Meeting in Vienna between Sergei Sviatchenko from Senko Studio and Aldo Giannotti and Jessica Wyschka from Kforumvienna. Interviewer: Elena Basteri
Promoting contemporary art, the mobility and the exchange between artists from overall the world are just few of the many common points between Senko and Kforumvienna. Senko is a communication space opened for different ideas and projects to play with video, photo, paintings and the energy of people around. Kforumvienna is a non profit organisation with the mission to promote the diffusion of contemporary visual art in the sense of an international exchange. Sergei Sviatchenko, Aldo Giannotti and Jessica Wyschka met in Vienna after a long period of virtual contact. The meeting was “fertile ground” for the exchange of ideas and opinions and it was especially the occasion to put the basis for common future project and collaborations.
Aldo Giannotti from Kforumvienna and Sergei Sviatchenko from Senko Studio
Elena: Sergei, you are in Vienna these days because you are taking part in the Display, a project powered by KFV that consists in inviting artists from Austria and abroad to present their work in the shop windows of cultural districts in Vienna. How did you get in contact with Kforumvienna?
Sergei: It's a chain of relations: I was exhibiting in Senko an artist from Munich, who is a friend of Aldo. He proposed me to look at Aldo's work so I did it. I was really exited about his work, about what he is doing so I invited Aldo to expose in Viborg. Later I found out that Aldo is not only an artist but also part of Kforumvienna. So we started writing via e-mail, I don’t know how many mails we sent…
When I looked at the website of Kforumvienna I realized that they were organizing a different project and I asked what Display means. At the beginning we didn't' know that me with Senko and Aldo with Kforum were working in the same directions, with a lot of common points. At the beginning we just liked the work of one another as artists then later we found out a lot of other connections in the way we are working.
Elena: Could you explain which these connections are?
Sergei: First, I think we both are working with emotional feelings. This is the most important thing, I think. We like to communicate, to find ideas and then develop and realize them. In this sense we are doing exactly the same thing. Moreover I think we had immediately a good mental connection: when we met to the station I had really the impression that we already knew each other very well.
Aldo: We kind react to the world of art not in a bureaucratic way but in a personal and very human way. This is one of the topics of Kforumvienna and Senko. And this is why Sergei is here after a long period of mail exchange.
Elena: The approach of Senko and Kforum towards contemporary art is emotional, human. With what activities do you try to realize these principles?
Aldo: We both promote the exchange of artists. This is for sure one main point of the two projects. We want to build a common plattform for interaction, for movement l and for opening the border to research of artists, to give them the possibility to travel in another country, to experience a new way of making art and to learn from it.
Another common way of acting is to work like a network for a brother association, as in this case, to pave the way for Senko in Vienna or vice versa.
Elena: So this "physical meeting" in Vienna after a long period of virtual contact was fruitful? What are your impressions?
Sergei: I was personally amazed by the Display project. When I saw it on the website it was one thing, but when you experience the atmosphere it's a completely different feeling. They started with a small group of artists two years ago and which has now grown up with many international groups. I would like also to develop the project in Denmark next year. To know Aldo and Jessica was very interesting, they are so open minded. When I will go back to Denmark and I will “spread the word” about their interesting ideas and projects.
Sergei Sviatchenko fra Senko Studio og Jessica Wyschka fra Kforumvienna
Elena: Did you develop some common plans for the future?
Aldo: Kforum has tried to become like a mediator between Senko and Kunstbuero....this was a very fast example of creating a network between associations with a common ground. Kforum proposed a meeting between Senko and Kunstbuero. Sergei went there and proposed Kunstbuero to involve Kforum in the project.
Sergei: Senko, Kunstbuero and Kforum are going to organize together an exhibition: there will be three installations; Aldo will participate probably as artist with a video. We have to find another artist from Denmark and a curator to support us for the theoretical things.
Aldo: On the other side Senko is going to host an exhibition organized by Kunstbuero. It' s an example of exchange.
Sergei: Another project that we want to develop together will take place in the Flash art museum. The idea came from Maurizio Coccia, director and curator of the museum. He organized an exhibition with three artists in Senko at the beginning of this year. So he had the idea to create a network....the name of the project will be E45, that‘s one of the biggest highways in Europe. The initial idea was to involve artists from Denmark and Italy, and then Aldo proposed to bring also artists from Austria and Germany, so now the idea is to make an exhibition with four artists from each country. Anyway the idea has to be developed.
Elena: Sergei you are working promoting young artists. What is your attitude towards this young generation of artists?
Sergei: "Children of the revolution" is a song of the seventies and is also the title of a video I made; there’s my daughter, she talks to the wall without any voices. I have the feeling that the generation of my daughter may do something more interesting. I have the feeling that young artists can make something more. The idea that came out speaking with Aldo is to make a research about what is going on among the very young generation of artists in the different countries. I really see the potential of revolution in our times and I think a revolution is necessary.
Elena: Senko is about to become a bigger "space", you are working very hard to realize this project of enlargement of Senko. What will be the nature of the new Senko?
Sergei: We are trying to bring Senko in a bigger space to create a forum, to make not only exhibitions but also organize artists in residence based on Scandinavian countries, but hopefully it will be possible to apply to artists from other countries. I will keep the same way of developing ideas, the same way of communication, I am not afraid of a major bureaucracy or of institutionalization.
Elena: Jessica you are the "manageringl soul" of Kforum and the one who most has to face with all the practical problems and overall the research of sponsors since KFV is a no profit association. How is the situation in Vienna from a political point of view? How do politicians react to you?
Jessica: Austrian "international" policy is used as an instrument to communicate Austria's position in Europe and clearly anchored as such in the cultural policy statement of 2001. Kforumvienna does not believe in representing policies or nationalism but promotes a culture of amalgamation and diversity. This is certainly in antagonism to most/all guidelines for grand programs and stands against the governmental expectations.
Since we are not willing to make compromises in our opinion and trust that art is an essential indicator for the understanding and dialogue among cultures and identities, we have not been getting any governmental support. On the municipal level there is a bit more “feeling of duty” towards us, because of the inevitable notice of our work on the local stage.
Elena: What about Viborg Sergei? Which is the attitude of a small city towards Senko activities? Do you think that Senko was able to influence in a way the cultural and artistic identity of Viborg?
Sergei: Senko has to face the traditional problems that always will rise when you want to promote contemporary art on a high standard, and especially when you want to do it from a small town like Viborg in the middle of Jutland about 300 kilometres away from the metropolis, Copenhagen. You could turn it positively saying the opposite, that it gives you more attention and maybe respect, if you operate from a small town.

Sergei Sviatchenko from Senko Studio
  Working together with international highly recognized artists, I feel convinced that we’ll involve the political local establishment more and more in the future. First sign on political support has come via economical support from “The Danish Art Council Committee for Visual Art” which is a state run committee under the wings of the Ministry of Culture in Denmark.
SENKO INTERNATIONAL ART PROGRAMME which has existed for more than 3 years, with different international exhibitions, has already given artistic identity to Viborg. More and more European art institutions want to cooperate and collaborate with us. It makes SENKO interesting for the local community in the sense: “Viborg in Europe, Europe in Viborg”. Hopefully more communication of what is going on in Senko, will mean, that it counts not only to build up a brand for the town, but also to spread a better understanding of what is going on in international contemporary art, which is my mission. The local press makes professional reviews of the exhibitions in Senko, and in that sense the press is helpful for the purpose and the idea, and so are the two large Scandinavian portals: aarhus.nu and kopenhagen.dk, both cover all exhibitions with reviews and interviews.
From the very beginning the idea of SENKO was and still is to run the operation on a non-profit basis. We want to underline and to prove that you can communicate with people and politicians through pure artistic development. Senko has proved that you can make fundraising from private enterprises and from cultural institutions if you have a convincing concept. At least the unique concept of SENKO is obviously the right one, namely the idea of creating a platform for communication between artists, people and politicians.
Related links:
Senko Studio - www.senko.dk
Kforumvienna - www.kforumvienna.com
aarhus.nu - www.aarhus.nu
kopenhagen.dk - www.kopenhagen.dk
  Related articles:
Essay: Darwin my Friend. By Maurizio Coccia
Interview: Aldo Giannotti. By Hans Henrik Jakobsen
Portrait af Sergei Sviatchenko. By Hans Henrik Jacobsen
Essay: Senko Studio 3 år. By Jan Falk Borup
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