Dmitry Zakharov – 1986, Moscow – is a Berlin-based digital media artist. His stroboscopic and progressive works involve a refined aesthetic sense for matter: fluids, bodies, lights, colors mixed with a touch of darkness.
Zakharov examines humanity by comparing it with the digital world we live in. It conveys the problems that define life and death, space and time, visualizing them through cutting-edge multimedia technologies, transforming abstract thoughts into tangible experiences.
A revolutionary imprint contaminates his works. He is an adventurer who explores infinite possibilities by breaking the mold, corrupting human nature, investigating society, experimenting with a new aesthetic.
Acclaimed host of many exhibitions and screenings in Europe, Zakharov boasts collaborations with international companies such as BMW, Nike, Adidas, Balenciaga and Samsung.
Interviewed for Somewhere Magazine by Niccolò Lapo Latini, director and coordinator of the project.
“Dmitry is not afraid. He puts research and creation before any current rules, constraints or social stigma regardless of the consequences. His cultural background and his eclectic spirit are certainly his weapon. He is not pretending, he is an artist of other times.” (Niccolò Lapo Latini)
“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water.” (Bruce Lee)
It’s clear how this famous quote from Bruce Lee can perfectly
apply to your creative performances and to your artistic personality.
Now let’s go deeper: cannot this behavior of matter somehow reflect
and strongly recall the historical period which we live into?
Just think about themes such as fluid gender, smart working post Covid-19 or long-distance relationships due to increasingly nomadic and cosmopolitan life. (NLL)
I think we are living in a time in which many old beliefs have outlived themselves and the traditional values of past generations are being challenged. This affects many areas from capitalism and work ethics to gender identities or the definition of the nuclear family and it’s a good development, but one that must be constantly pushed forward by all of us. I would like to live in an open, plural society that has room for all realities of life.
At the same time, there are also reactionary tendencies. Conservative and right-wing world views are once again gaining popularity and many right-wing parties are receiving votes and winning elections again, as we just saw in Italy. A part of the people feels restricted in their own freedom and threatened by the increasing freedom and visibility of minorities.\par
Both tendencies influence me in my art. It fluctuates, blurs boundaries but also often has something dark, some sort of heaviness to it. The quote describes not only my art but also my striving to keep an open and malleable mind to explore new paths. (DZ)
The art and vision of the human being changes in history: The Classical Age (500 B.C) in Athens with Polykleitos and the constant search for canonical beauty, the Mannerism or Italian “Manierismo” with Tintoretto (1500 A.C), aesthetic perfection and drama and then Cubism with Picasso from Malaga (1900 A.C), countless points of view, contradictory perspectives of a lost human nature. In your works, the faces of the characters are often distorted, hidden, deconstructed: what does the human being represent for you and what do you see through? (NLL)
Our time is dominated by an unprecedented perfectionism, which is endlessly reproduced by social media and reality TV, everywhere you turn you see perfect faces, perfect bodies, everything looks smooth and the same. Especially for female-read people, an absurd hypersexualized ideal of beauty currently prevails in the mainstream, which is hardly achievable without surgical help.
I am inspired by people who escape these ideals of beauty. I also want to show in my art that aesthetics can do without perfection. Morphing faces or bodies that lose their shape and then reassemble reflect for me not only the human body but also it’s spirit, our society and history. We are always reinventing ourselves but ultimately we are just the same flawed, insecure but endearing creatures. (DZ)
Could you tell us more about your experimental short film “Inside Me”?
How close are Dmitry Zakharov as artist and just Dmitry as common individual? (NLL)
Inside me is a short film I created in 2014. At that time 3d scanning technology, in this case photogrammetry, was still very freshly available to the general public. Being able to scan real life objects and manipulate them in my computer was fascinating to me.
The first idea was to digitize my body and transform it into an avatar, which can visit digital worlds without being bound to reality or physics. Through different tracking shots in the inner space of the avatar, landscapes and abstract spaces came to life. A world of energy, ideas and creativity that flows not only through Dmitry but through every person.
My perspective as an artist and as an ordinary person overlap in most cases, as my art projects grow out of a personal intention.
“Each universe encloses another, which creates a new one, and the world next to us still seems far away. And so we look into infinity again, which inevitably surrounds us.” – Quote from “Inside Me”, 2014. (DZ)
“Silence” is just speechless and the combination with the Wumen Huikai’s aphorism is very refined too. Why is politics often an uncomfortable topic to deal with, almost a taboo actually, for many artists? (NLL)
I don’t think it’s a taboo. On the contrary, I think one of the tasks of art is to question and comment on politics, religion and history. However, where it is particularly necessary, it is not always advisable or possible to do so openly.
In my project Silence I tried to look beyond the political persons, positions and conflicts. For myself and the viewer. And hope to come across the essentials that make up our humanity, but are often hidden. (DZ)
“Every innovation or technique can be used for what it is not intended.” (Dmitry Zakharov from Rooms Magazine, 2014)
What’s your intention for the future right now? (NLL)
I am working on installations again, which I develop alone or with partners both conceptually and implement visually and auditory.
Due to the pandemic many of us where forced to experience cultural offerings such as music and art mainly virtually and often alone. Whit less restrictions in place, a high vaccination rate and better hygiene concepts for events it’s possible again to experience art and music together, which I think is a great way to catch a break in these times of multiple crises that we are experiencing right now.
I’m excited to stage complete immersive experiences that offer the viewer a comprehensive sensory experience and invite individuals to engage, exchange and dialogue. (DZ)
Many artists are against the revolution brought by Web 3.0 and the NFT world, thinking it can foment artistic capitalism damaging quality and research. Do you agree? (NLL)
It is difficult for me to take a clear position on this topic. The idea of decentralization is an exciting development. I welcome technology that facilitates access to the art market, allows more artists to earn money with their art and eventually contributes to diversity in art. On the other hand, I know of projects where the focus is on the highest possible output of NFTs and quality and purport are completely left behind. This results in a flood of meaningless art that is really only a commodity and the reputation of digital art suffers in the long run.(DZ)
Let’s go back to school for a moment Dmitry. Topic at will, no more than one hundred words. It’s your time now! (NLL)
As if in each of us
There once was a fire
And for some of us
There seem as if there are only ashes now
But when we dig in the ashes
We find one ember
And very gently we fan that ember Blow on it, it gets brighter
And from that ember we rebuild the fire
Only thing that’s important is that ember
That’s what you and I are here to celebrate
And pretty soon you realize that all we’re going to do for eternity Is sit around the fire
(Sit Around The Fire – Jon Hopkins with Ram Dass and East Forest, 2021) (DZ)
Finally, if you could somehow define not only yourself but also the reality that surrounds us, what would you save and what would you eliminate from our world? (NLL)
Here I tie in with my project Silence. It made me realize that there are moments of pause after which people bring good or bad into the world.
I would save the moments that bring love and delete those that lead to hate. I could imagine that injustice, poverty and exploitation would be nipped in the bud and wars and destruction of nature could be prevented. (DZ)
Niccolò Lapo Latini