The RBC Canadian Painting Competition interview series
Art courtesy of Aleksander Hardashnakovuntitled 23 string piece 2, canvas string and enamel on canvas (122 x 91 centimetres).
Aleksander Hardashnakov lives in Toronto. He is the co-founder of Tomorrow Gallery. His work has been displayed at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and Clint Roenisch.
What are your influences?
Everything influences me. I am very impressionable.
How does theory inform your work?
I think theory in some way, shape or form, influences everyone and everything. I don’t ignore it and I don’t pay much attention either. I’m sure it seeps in or can be imposed by viewers. Most of the time when I am making a painting or drawing, I think about average things like what I should eat for dinner later, or what colours would go nicely together. I also think most of the things I make don’t immediately crystallize. Inevitably, over time a web of ideas or theories will emerge.
What themes or narratives have you conveyed through your work, perhaps without actually thinking about them?
I think it’s probably better for my work to continue to think about things I am not actually thinking about without telling you what I think I thought I was thinking about.
What do you think this year’s RBC Canadian Painting Competition short list says about where painting is in Canada right now?
I don’t know what it says.
Art by Aleksander Hardashnakov; animation by TheWalrus.ca.
What are your challenges, as an artist?
Interviews are pretty challenging. Regular social situations are also very difficult. I think part of the reason I’ve gravitated to making art is so I don’t have to say too much. I find a lot of normal things challenging, like regular exercise and brushing my teeth properly.
What are your ideal working conditions?
More space could always be put to use, and some windows would be nice too. I would like to become better at making work outside the studio setting. I’d like to get better at not thinking about ideal working conditions as well.
Is there something that one can point to that is distinctive about Canadian art—an outlook or a feeling (or a lack of one)?
At this point, I don’t really think so.
This interview has been condensed and edited for publication. See all fifteen finalists at TheWalrus.ca/cpc.