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Q&A: Dan & Lia Perjovschi

There’s a museum of knowledge, doubts and comments located up on a hilltop in Pyeongchang-dong.

댄 앤 리아 퍼잡스키 (Courtesy of the artists and Total Museum of Contemporary Art)
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Courtesy of the artists and Total Museum of Contemporary Art
댄 앤 리아 퍼잡스키 (Courtesy of the artists and Total Museum of Contemporary Art )
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Courtesy of the artists and Total Museum of Contemporary Art
댄 앤 리아 퍼잡스키 (Courtesy of the artists and Total Museum of Contemporary Art )
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Courtesy of the artists and Total Museum of Contemporary Art
댄 앤 리아 퍼잡스키 (Courtesy of the artists and Total Museum of Contemporary Art)
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Courtesy of the artists and Total Museum of Contemporary Art
Dan and Lia Perjovschi met at an art school for art when they were ten, and now they are married and both self-sustaining artists. Notorious for scribbling on the walls of art museums like a witty but a politically aware child, Dan has been illustrating for a Romanian newspaper since the ‘90s. Lia, on the other hand, collects objects from art gallery shops all over the world, jots down handwritten notes from her readings on science and art history and merges everything together into giant, drawing-based installations. Although the two Romanian artists are equally passionate about the social and political climate at all times, they create very different work. Time Out Seoul talked to the artists on the day of their opening, where Dan cracked jokes at the end of each sentence, and Lia, gave a tour of her “Knowledge Museum” like an articulate and intelligent historian. 
 
For the exhibition, both of you packed light—Dan brought four markers to draw with and lia, some figurines and objects to install.
Dan We want to make valuable art out of small, simple and inexpensive things. For instance, you’ll find a bunch of postcards stuck on the walls in the
beginning part of the exhibition. I sent these to the Total Museum starting this January, and it’s a 30 dollar production altogether.
 
Lia’s "Knowledge museum" is like a 3D mind map on seven disciplines, including the earth, bodies and art, but it's all written in English. How should a Korean-speaking viewer approach the work?
Lia Images. You may think: “I don’t understand why these objects are here! It’s not organized!” But, it’s about paying attention, and figuring out the riddles yourself. It’s the same with life. There is no translator who will do the work for you. As for Dan's marker drawings, it's funny that a man has a six-pack on his head.
Dan People try so hard to get a six-pack on their stomach. But what about the head? ‘Cause that’s what's really important, especially for someone like me who'll never have one. By injecting humor, the work becomes much more communicative. You've seen how I draw. I have gone to art schools for 12 years, but does it show? (Laughs) You both deal with political and social issues as subjects of your work. 
 
Do you have grand plans to change the world with activist art, or are you merely presenting a set of critical questions for the viewers to consume?
Dan I am a commentator and a journalist, but not a war journalist who throws himself into the fire. But a lot of my drawings were on the news and have been used in protests in many countries.
Lia Changing the world with art. If I could have this magical power, I’d like to educate everybody instantly, and give him or her basic knowledge. But I don’t want to be an activist that you find in books, or who practices in an office. I am a Romanian woman from a former Communist country, and after the revolution, I travel a lot for 25 years. As a citizen of this planet, I want to know what’s going on in our world all the time. I am very lucky to have had access to education (and the one I wanted), but people who don’t have an educated perspective often don’t know what they’re good at—whether it’s baking bread or cutting hair. 
 
Dan said the work is not site-specific, but specific to time. Are there any installations that comment on Seoul?
Dan There are several. I saw a homeless man in a cardboard house living under a bridge with cars driving by on top, so I drew that. It shows three levels of life. There are some new ideas and drawings here, but ‘cause I am not a genius, I also take old drawings and tweak them a little to match
the time and location. I only have a brilliant idea or two every three weeks or so. 
Lia On the first floor, there’s a lamp in the shape of a diver that I bought from the MMCA museum store. It gets you to think about water and the
ocean. I have thousands of objects from all over the world, but I don’t have many objects that make the viewers think about art.

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