26 October 2011

Guy Yanai


Can you briefly describe what you do? 

I make works of art in projects. I want to change the world. It’s that simple really. I want my works to change the visual culture that we know. I want to create a new lexicon of visual processes.

What drives you to make work? 

Anger, anxiety, more anxiety. Not creating and not working drive me into a very, very quick oblivion. Happy people do not make art, so I guess that is what drives me.  It’s really a burning sensation that never leaves. Not very pleasant, but no other way, and it’s the only thing that makes life somewhat possible.

Can you tell me something of your day-to-day working practices?

I wake up very early. I have two kids, Romy and Ava. I am in the studio all day every day.  Usually in the morning I try to avoid working at any cost, knowing that I will soon be facing all my weaknesses is very scary, at some point I begin, sometimes as late as 12, sometimes as early as 9, it depends.  Emails really help me feel that I am doing something ‘productive’.  I only work in groups of works, near the end I will work 12 - 14 hours a day, in the beginning less so.

How long have you been working in that way? 

Before I had kids I wasted a lot of time and somehow got a lot less done. Having children gave me a renewed sense of urgency, so it’s been about four years of working like this. The more I work the more I feel that I don’t work enough.

Which artists have had the greatest affect on your work? 

All of the really good painters. I love them all. Piero della Francesca is still one of my favorites, same with Paulo Uccello. There are so many good artists working today as well. Really exciting; I like artists that have a real freedom to what they do, like Tal R.

What, outside visual art, informs your practice? 

EVERYTHING. I consume it all, and in massive amounts, much more than I look at painting now. Films, music, magazines, women, internet, vimeo, youtube, etc.  In some ways, I have started indexing all of these ‘sources’. Looking at all of this is very crucial for me. I like the way there are moving images everywhere now. On a plane now, from Newark to Chicago, I saw on TV that some restaurants have iPads as menus; that is a challenge for us, one more layer to be aware of and defeat.

 How would you like people to engage with your work? 

I guess that I would like the first engagement, those first few seconds, to be an emotional response, something beyond cognitive thought.  Then after you can go and understand it, the quotations etc. I just started a large work called Therapy, and with this work I would really love for people to look at it and just get very emotional and feel all of their personal baggage, to really confront their subconscious. 
Have you seen anything recently that has made an impression? 

Last thing that really blew me away, and has not left in ANY way is Michel Houellebecq’s latest book, The Map and the Territory. I read it in Hebrew, it comes out in English Jan 3, 2012, and I’ll read it in English as well.  The book changed me. 
Do you have anything exciting on the horizon? 

Yeah, 2012 is going to be great. I have a solo project at The George Maciunas Foundation in NYC, Noam Segal is curating something of mine at Yafo 23 in Jerusalem, with a large “re-mix” of Uccello’s Battle of San Romano and a lot of sculptures. I am also curating a show in Tel Aviv, at the Spaceship at Hayarkon 70 of international artists.

1 comment:

  1. Guy Yanai is one of the most interesting contemporary artists out there...Hes an "artists artist" vigorous, impulsive, inquisitive...I look forward to seeing the progression of his work.