- Could you, please, introduce yourself in a few words ?
I am Evy Jokhova. I am half Russian and half Estonian but I grew up in Switzerland before to move to Vienna in Austria. I did all my art studies in London starting at the Central Saint Martins School. I was based in London for 15 years before to arrive in Lisbon. Architecture, communication and sociology are also part of my work.
- For how long time are you living in Lisbon and why this town ?
I live in Lisbon for 8 months now. I have a lot of Portuguese friends in my entourage and I was used to do a lot of residencies around Europe, in Austria, in Netherlands, in Italy and many others. Residencies are the best way for an artist to explore different aspects of practice abroad, the best secured one I think. I have started a residency in Lisbon and after that I have found an atelier easily so I have decided to stay a bit more. A lot of things happen in this city. I was supposed to move for a project in Istanbul but the political context in Turkey made me change also my plans.
- You have currently a solo show exhibition at the FOCO gallery. As a multidisciplinary artists, could you explain what is your process to link social anthropology, architecture, philosophy and art around one topic ?
It took many years. It was a long road. I started with canvas paintings and wall drawings. And I found my work too much esthetic, I needed to get more involved in it, with deeper thoughts. Everything started like this. Day after day, I have completed my knowledge. I was really curious about photography, sculptural environment, I read about social issues also, questioning myself. How also migrations could impact on the mouvement in the social field. How a blind person could evolves in the space. Which parts of his/her body were used to occupy an espace.
For example, concerning the actual solo show at the FOCO gallery, it took around 7 months of preparation. Each original object has a specific story. I have chosen different materials ( ceramics, fabrics, raw materials) to replicate them. Sometimes I didn’t even touch the original one. Papers that you can see in the Within these lines I operate were used by my grandmother to print reports in the chemistry laboratory were she was used to work. The piece of toast was an accidental gift from a friend who left me a toaster in a flat and the this toast was still inside in a perfect condition. Coming from a kitchen, it was a sign for me.
- In Within these lines I operate, you immerse the visitor in a house from the kitchen to the living room, always with a delicate touch of humour. But also a strictness dictated by the lines, the rules. We are maybe wrong but we can feel your baltic culture and Russian roots mixed with a sensitive Japanese vibe… Where did you find your inspiration ?
I have moved so much in my life. A house changes a lot from one country to another. In United Kingdoms, the kitchen is mostly in the back fo houses while in Italy the kitchen is the center of the house. Each space of each house has its own role and the culture is an important part of it. I didn’t take an office as the inside structure is more generic and neutral than a home sweet home. When you are a baby the house is the first architectural reference that you are exposed to.
Concerning the Japanese vibe, you are absolutely right ! My mum has been always obsessed by Japan. I was raised in a minimalist vision and one of my best friends is Japanese so I traveled there. It was really interested to notice that Japanese rooms are always separated from each other by sliding wooden panels while in Russia it’s organized as an open space to create fluidity and mouvement.
The minimalism is something that you find always in the scandinavian culture and for sure in Estonia. So I guess, everything makes sense.
- The american dancer Patricia Keleher did a perfomance during the Lisbon art Weekend first edition. Could you please tell us more about this collaboration ?
Yes, sure. I love to connect my artworks to architecture and mouvements. And what is better that a dancer to express my work giving also a new approach ? I have met Patricia Keleher though Ben ( Benjamin Gonthier) from the FOCO, she is a professional dancer coming from San Francisco. She is now based in Lisbon and wanted to expand her work to contemporary art and new challenges. She was perfect for the performance as she is very feminine, sensual and also very expressive. She finds directly the good way to interact with each object. It was really interesting to work with her. The tapestry became a low picnic, the Felix zebra a toy in a child’s bedroom.
- We are constantly surrounded by new technologies, the human is replaced more and more by the machine. And, with social networks, interactions between people have changed. What do you think about this phenomenon ?
I work always by hands. I don’t use softwares even to place my artworks in a space while I could use one. I prefer to draw the shadow of the object directly on a wall to check dimensions and perspectives. As you can see for example, next to the chair in my atelier ( see the main article). I try to stay away as possible from my phone, but it’s more and more complicated. And for sure, I think that we need to disconnect sometimes from all of this and interact in a physical way with people.
- What is your next project ?
I will take part of the Riga Photography Biennial. I will exhibit my work next to two other artists at the national museum of photography. For the real first time I will cross the sculpture and the photography trying to connect the objet to the image. I have only worked most of time with the video in a specific context. I never make prints, it’s something really rare for me and it comes from my desire to draw and paint I guess. So it will be a new challenge and a new manner to approach my work also.