Illya Goldman Gubin is an interdisciplinary artist based in Berlin. His label IGG bridges the gap between fashion, art, and interior. The artist’s current exhibition KARTON breaks existing connotations and automatically established connections between objects and their logical properties. Illya Goldman Gubin creates objects that violate every rule we have placed on this matter. Paper and cardboard, for us unstable, fragile but useful objects with a limited duration, become something that carries us and is integrated into our area of living.
First of all: How did you get into art?
Originally, I come from the fashion industry. Several years ago, fashion brought me to photography and photography brought me to art.
What was your very first project?
My first real project was under the former atelier name “97cm” – it was a ladder cut on one side, attached to a solid vertical concrete wall, symbolizing the skeleton of two bodies behind the former collective.
Your exhibition “Karton” is kind of related to your childhood and the place where grew up. What does home mean to you?
I donʼt think I have a feeling of home as a rational space. I donʼt think home has a physical spatiality. I think, home is our inner selfs. As soon as we can close our eyes and meditate or think and analyze, this could be the closest to home.
Regarding furniture as an object in a living space, this is also really important to me. I believe in a healing energy through art or objects that provoke a better well-being.
Art in general has the character of being special and fragile, something that you would not actually touch. But here you are transferring art into the interior area and turning something that we know as “inviolable” into a piece of furniture. Something rather fragile becomes something that suddenly even gives us support. Why did you explicitly choose cardboard boxes here?
My whole practice is aimed at the need to touch art. Without interaction, my artworks are not finished. Due to countless impressions and stimuli that our nervous system has to process in today’s society, our mind often relies on experiences in order to orientate our actions towards familiar situations or familiar materials. Cardboard as a material is programmed as a fragile medium in our subconscious – an experience is already pre-programed even without a physical event. This is also the importance of staying true to the material in its raw aesthetic. As soon as a spectator touch or sit on the cardboard object, they will recognize the illusion that their subliminal self has created and find themselves in the unknown. The idea of an object that we once carried, but now also can carry us really interested me to analyze. For this, a physical space and spectators are necessary. I must see the first and honest reaction of visitors as soon as they approach a physical connection with the artworks or in this case with the design objects. I think this first touch, this first reaction, creates a sort of energy or aura that is emitted through the interaction. This interaction enables us to overcome cognitive boundaries and become present. We begin to understand how much our organism is automated.
Where exactly does your connection to cardboard boxes come from?
My work always arises from one and the same starting point. It arises from a medium that plays a crucial role in each of my works. I’m referring to epoxy resin. This starting point I consider also as parameters from which I never break out. However, between these parameters, anything can occur. These principles help me to stay myself. I perceive epoxy resin as water – and thus ideas arise from the combination of that medium with other materials where water could also have an important influence. The idea to work with cardboard came during the pandemic. There was less need to be „everywhere“ and more need to be here and now. Through my own inner reflection I remembered my youth in Ukraine and how I used to play with cardboard boxes – that’s where the idea came from.
You also have a fashion context in your work, with “Step in Art” you present shoes that virtually carry a part of your art with them. To what extent is it interesting for you to connect art to fashion?
I see my clothing as a continuation of my artworks. It is not a fashion line, but works of art that are created from works of art. Since I started my work, one of the goals was to build a bridge between the art and the fashion world. There are a lot of young fashion driven individuals who would be interested in the art itself. It’s really important to me to make the accessibility easier and reasonable. I believe through the clothes, which are connected to art and also have a deeper meaning, a door can be opened into the new nothingness. And from nothingness emerge enormous possibilities.
NFTs and digital art is becoming increasingly important in the art scene. What do you think about this direction and what does that mean to you as an artist?
I believe it’s a new way of art and a new way of selling art. I think it is a small step to a bigger future. There is no stop for digitalization. I believe in crypto technology. Nevertheless, whenever a trend comes, there will always be a movement against it. I’m not against it, but my work need a physical interaction. But I also think creatives should be able to adapt to a certain reality. With the new way there are new possibilities to create new ideas.