Vladimir Kar­pov: Pro­mot­ing In­done­sian Art

Vladimir Kar­pov came to Bali for an In­done­sian marketing agency and de­cided to stay. He has been in­volved in pro­mot­ing the arts of In­done­sia on an in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal level for al­most a decade.

Indonesia Expat - - NEWS - By Amina Ghazi Vladimir can be con­tacted through his email: mrw.kar­pov@ gmail.com

Where did you spend your early years?

I was born and raised in Kaza­khstan, on the north­ern slopes of the Hi­malayan Moun­tains and still a for­mal repub­lic of the Soviet Union at that time. When the USSR fell apart, I was ten years old and my mom, along with a few friends, de­cided to move to St. Peters­burg, Rus­sia. My fa­ther stayed in Kaza­khstan.

We lived out of the city in a coun­try house of which I have many happy child­hood mem­o­ries. There were sev­eral fam­i­lies, and as chil­dren, we played in the snow among the lakes and in the sun­flower fields. We ex­plored huge aban­doned farm build­ings. It was a beau­ti­ful child­hood full of ad­ven­ture and a nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment that en­cour­aged cre­ativ­ity.

In my teens, I trav­elled reg­u­larly be­tween Rus­sia and Kaza­khstan where my fa­ther re­mained. I also lived in the United States. Dur­ing my boy­hood, I was ex­posed to a great deal of cul­tural di­ver­sity that I ap­pre­ci­ate to this day.

I at­tended univer­sity in St. Peters­burg, where I stud­ied marketing and pub­lic re­la­tions, and al­ways had a pas­sion for the arts and cul­ture. My grad­u­ate work was about brand­ing mu­se­ums, and it was im­ple­mented in re­brand­ing one of the state mu­se­ums: The Mu­seum of the His­tory of Re­li­gion. I found ways to put my marketing skills into so­cial and cul­tural di­rec­tions that I con­tinue to do in my work even to this day.

How did you come to Bali?

I came to Bali to­tally by co­in­ci­dence. I had never thought I’d come here un­til I went on a cruise to some is­lands around St. Peters­burg and met an In­done­sian wo­man, Kora Amal­wati.

Kora had a well-known marketing so­lu­tions agency in Sa­nur, Bali. I was al­ready work­ing in a good po­si­tion with an agency in St. Peters­burg. When she of­fered me a job, I had never heard or known any­thing about Bali. This was 2008, the year of the world eco­nomic crises. It af­fected the busi­ness I worked in so af­ter some time I called her. She asked me to come as soon as pos­si­ble to join the cur­rent project her firm was work­ing on. Two days later I was in Bali.

I worked for Kora’s firm for one year, then I re­turned to Rus­sia and Kaza­khstan. I was back here in just six months. I knew that Bali was the place where I wanted to be and marketing In­done­sian art was what I truly wanted to do. I re­turned and have been liv­ing here ever since.

How did Bali change your life?

Bali is amaz­ing. It is full of all the things I love – art, cul­ture, strong spir­i­tual tra­di­tions and a grow­ing con­tem­po­rary aware­ness, in­clud­ing the arts. Bali re­ally changed my life. I went through deep trans­for­ma­tions here. I have learned to cher­ish what is truly valu­able in life. I have be­come a hus­band and a fa­ther – and love be­ing both.

Art has al­ways been my pas­sion. Art is such an im­por­tant part of the Ba­li­nese way of life. They have great re­spect for art and artists, which is hard to find else­where. It is a part of their lives. All the tra­di­tional arts are in­ter­twined around their rich be­lief sys­tem. Just mak­ing the sim­ple of­fer­ings is an art.

Artists here must study all aspects of their art. A dancer may also carve the masks and know the words to the play that is a part of their re­li­gious le­gends. Ev­ery­thing is con­nected.

Artists learn like in the times of Da Vinci and the Re­nais­sance, by ap­pren­tic­ing and work­ing with ac­com­plished tra­di­tional artists. The con­tem­po­rary artists still are in­flu­enced by tra­di­tion. Bali has shown me how life and art and the spir­i­tual aspects of life are all con­nected as one.

Is In­done­sian art ap­pre­ci­ated in­ter­na­tion­ally?

In­done­sian art, both tra­di­tional and con­tem­po­rary, is a cul­tural time bomb wait­ing to go off. In­done­sia in the arts is like El Do­rado: it is an undis­cov­ered global arts cen­tre.

There is a cul­tural evo­lu­tion tak­ing place in art and de­sign here. In­done­sians are be­com­ing more aware of their rich art her­itage and are in­vest­ing in tra­di­tional, as well as con­tem­po­rary works and projects in new and emerg­ing me­dia. The peo­ple of In­done­sia share a cul­tural her­itage that goes back to the an­i­mist arts. De­sign­ers, artists and me­dia in­no­va­tors are now gain­ing in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion. It has just be­gun.

What have you been work­ing on re­cently?

My fo­cus as a cu­ra­tor and as an artist pro­ducer has been pri­mar­ily on emerg­ing In­done­sian artists, with some Cen­tral Asian and Rus­sian artists. I bring artists and col­lec­tors from Cen­tral Asia and Rus­sia here to Bali. I in­tro­duce them to a whole new world – the arts and cul­ture of Bali and through­out all of In­done­sia.

I em­pha­size to my guests the unique di­ver­sity and mu­tual in­flu­ences only pos­si­ble in this ar­chi­pel­ago with its rich and an­cient his­tory of com­merce and the arts. I ex­pose them to the ‘prim­i­tive’ art tra­di­tions of In­done­sia’s past that in­flu­enced the modern art move­ment of the West in the mid-twentieth cen­tury.

I in­tro­duce con­tem­po­rary artists to tra­di­tional ar­ti­sans and crafts peo­ple, and by work­ing to­gether, more art is cre­ated. I ad­vise young con­tem­po­rary artists on how to best present their works and on how the tra­di­tional artists can ben­e­fit through modern pre­sen­ta­tions for a broader mar­ket ap­peal.

I do pop-up art shows and ex­hi­bi­tions un­der the name “Un­known Art Space” with dif­fer­ent groups of artists in eclec­tic pre­sen­ta­tions as the con­tem­po­rary, modern and tra­di­tional art­works com­ple­ment each other.

I cur­rently or­ga­nize and ad­vise clients. I pro­vide con­sul­ta­tions on in­te­rior de­sign as well, and in do­ing so, I try to sup­port tra­di­tional ways of pro­duc­tion. I of­ten go to vil­lages that spe­cial­ize in au­then­tic tra­di­tional crafts and put it in the art shops with a modern pre­sen­ta­tion. The name of this project is “Tal­is­man”.

There are many vil­las con­tin­u­ously be­ing built that help cre­ate a large grow­ing mar­ket for art and unique in­te­ri­ors. I en­cour­age and in­te­grate In­done­sian arts glob­ally in a dif­fer­ent and unique way. There is more mixed me­dia and re­cy­cled art ev­ery day, and these con­tem­po­rary artists are gain­ing recog­ni­tion in the global arts world. Artists to­day are be­com­ing an im­por­tant part of so­ci­ety in find­ing so­lu­tions com­mer­cially and en­vi­ron­men­tally.

Artists are used in think tanks, and ma­jor cor­po­ra­tions in­vite artists for feed­back and ad­vice on prod­ucts, from de­sign con­sult­ing to cre­at­ing sus­tain­abil­ity. In­done­sia is go­ing through a re­nais­sance as com­merce and cre­ativ­ity drive it for­ward to emerge as a ma­jor player on the global stage. The next ten years will bring a boom in sales and recog­ni­tion to this coun­try.

I sup­port forms of en­vi­ron­men­tal art where waste be­comes a vi­able prod­uct. I strive to en­cour­age an un­der­stand­ing of un­der­ground and street art on a higher level with fine art. The tra­di­tions of art run deep in In­done­sian cul­ture, es­pe­cially in Bali. We can find so­lu­tions to global prob­lems if we think pos­i­tively and cre­atively. There is a con­scious­ness ris­ing here that will cre­ate a lot of pos­i­tive changes.

What makes you happy?

Hap­pi­ness is my son, my wife, my fam­ily and my friends. Feel­ing in­spi­ra­tion through na­ture, the arts and laugh­ter all make me happy. I love fairy­tales and dark hu­mour.

What makes you sad?

War and vi­o­lence. Peo­ple waste so much en­ergy on these things in­stead of cre­at­ing new cul­tural ad­ven­tures like build­ing and ex­plor­ing new depths of our planet and our very con­scious­ness. Through sad­ness and dark times come beauty and hap­pi­ness.

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