Yuval Pudik Interview - The Hopper Prize

Yuval Pudik

Yuval Pudik on early memories relating to art, working on a range of long term projects, & moving fluidly between a wide variety of media.

How did you get into making art?

All my earliest memories are related to art, if it’s Images or specific works or art or music playing at my grandparents house. I am very lucky that I never had to go very far to find it, it was always around, my mother made sure creativity and art are essential and central part of my life, so naturally I became an artist. Never crossed my mind to do or “Be” anything else. Making art as a child was an escape, a place to hide in, a way to get lost and a shelter, but above all it was an eductation. It was only when I had to decide to not go to the mandatory military service after high school is when I started to think about art as a way of life, a “career”, art collage and all that come after, only then I realize that I never made plans for anything else.

What are you currently working on?

On too many things!

I am editing a long form video, or a film, not sure yet how to name it. I am sifting through an archive of moving images I amassed in the past few years with my iPhone, an hyper-queer archive that I am montaging together into a kaleidoscopic film. It will be eventually viewed in a large sculptural installation where I am recreating a 19th century stereoscopic device called Kaiserpanorama.

I am working on large color pencil drawings based on poems of N.H. Pritchard. I am segmenting his poems into individual words, I run google searches on different browsers in different settings and let the search engine present me with images in response to the words in the poems. Over time it becomes a collage-like visual poem.

And additionally I am working on long term projects, bodies of works that will take years to complete.

My approach is always changing because I always want to try new things.

Yuval Pudik

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?

I read about the Kaiserpanorama in short diary entry by Kafka, he writes about running around Prague with his friend Max Brod, swimming in the lake and catching a showing at the Kaiserpanorama. I started to look into it and discovered this fascinating moment where photographed images were taken far as possible before the Lumière brothers came up with film and moving images. I am a compulsive images collector so it made sense to “House” this specific archive in the Kaiserpanora. I am recreating it from recycled cardboard so it very tactile on one hand, physical labor and technical skills, cinematic on the other end, digital editing. I posted this curated archive almost daily as stories on Instagram during pandemic and I have been waiting to find a new or permanent platform to show it in, then came that line in the Kafka diary…

The N.H. Pritchard poems were part of last year’s Whitney Biennial. I was so taken by his sense of space, how smart and thoughtful he is with languge on the page. I was completely infatuated with how he was librated from defintions like Poetry, or Drawings.

One of the poems / drawings was titled )( , the two parentheses signs, inverted. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I have a strange relatiohionship with parentheses, I am often told I over use them. That was the beginning of that body of work.

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

I suppose I do both. Now that I have been doing this for long as I have, I can look back and of course see ideas I have been exploring since my early 20’s. My approach is always changing because I always want to try new things, from drawings I went to installation because I felt that the walls are so limiting, from installations I went to sculptures and site specific project and now film and working with light. But I always go back to the same questions of identity, queerness, foreignness, fragmentation and archive.

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

I am not sure what “Typical day” is because what keeps me busy dictate my day and how I manage (or mismanage?) my time. Ideal day start very early around 5:30AM, good workout and getting to the studio around 8ish, to make coffee and catch up on all the boring side of the practice, like emails, administrations etc. If my partners are out of town, I can be at the studio for 14 hours. Easily. The day and therefor the work becomes more focused as I spend more time in the studio. It’s never enough. There is always more to do and never enough hours in the day. I am both a night person and an early morning person. Balancing that in 24 hours is basically impossible.

Who are your favorite artists?

Robert Gober, Toba Khedoori, Gio Black Peter, Catherine Opie, Roni Horn, David Mojnarowicz, Vija Selmins, Jason Rhoades, Michel Majerus, Louise Bourgeois, Isabelle Albuquerque, Philip Guston, Nicole Eisenman, Zoe Leonard, Robert Bresson, Noah Davis, Matt Lipps, Sterling Ruby, On Kawara, William Daniels, Bruce Conner, Alexander Fahima, Victor Man, Cris Brodahl, Kenneth Anger, Neal Tate, Frances Stark.

Where do you go to discover new artists?

In films, documentaries, I listen to podcasts basically all day. My friends always talk about an exhibition they saw or an artist they liked. And Instagram.
and while traveling.

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