Il­ja Ka­ri­lam­pi Ar­tist Ab­so­lut Art — Pre­si­dent Room

Odalisque - - Portraits - By So­fia Chowd­hu­ry

sc: What is The Pre­si­dent Room? ik: Good ques­tion! A spa­ce whe­re de­mocra­cy starts. It’s li­ke the cop has kic­ked in the do­or. And it’s an im­mer­si­ve Ab­so­lut Art bar in con­nec­tion to Ab­so­lut Art Award ce­re­mo­ny week­end in Stock­holm. I´ve tri­ed to trans­form a hid­den, un­der­ground ga­rage spa­ce in cen­tral Stock­holm in­to an en­ga­ging and per­for­ma­ti­ve en­vi­ron­ment, drawing on and lay­e­ring ele­ments of Swe­den’s stre­et cul­tu­re. To get the­re you need to pass Berg­sjön, a suburb out­si­de Gothen­burg, and then en­ter Meh­mets Livs, a bo­de­ga filled with an eclectic selection of im­por­ted snack food and con­fec­tio­ne­ri­es, unu­su­al soft drinks and toi­letri­es, as well as work by me. Meh­met sits be­hind the coun­ter. Through a cur­tain at the back of the Meh­mets Livs, vi­si­tors will pass through a con­ce­a­led do­or to en­ter the in­ner Pre­si­den­ti­al Room. In that room eve­ry­o­ne is a star. It's VIP – no, it’s beyond VIP. I’m not a roya­list, but you are the king of the night, for re­al. It’s an ho­mage to Stock­holm – the hoods, the glim­me­ring in­ner rooms of the ca­pi­tal. sc: What hap­pened in The Pre­si­dent Room? ik: What didn't hap­pen? It was a he­te­ro­to­pia of so­me sort. Ho­pe­ful­ly our vi­si­tors felt li­be­ra­ted and ener­gi­sed, as eve­ry­o­ne was the Pre­si­dent for the night. The per­for­mers we­re al­so gre­at, both nights. sc: And who are you? ik: Il­ja Ka­ri­lam­pi. Eve­ryt­hing is the­re for you to find out. So­me of my re­cent so­lo shows ha­ve been at San­dy Brown, Ber­lin; Be­le­ni­us/nor­den­ha­ke, Stock­holm; Mar­bri­ers 4, Ge­ne­va; Ma­zeh 9, Tel Aviv; New Jer­seyy, Ba­sel; samt MOMA PS1, New York, among ot­hers. So­me ot­her group things at The Mo­ving Mu­se­um, Istan­bul; Kunst-wer­ke, Ber­lin; 1857, Oslo; and Chi­sen­ha­le Gal­le­ry, Lon­don, and un­til octo­ber TRUST, Co­pen­ha­gen Art Fes­ti­val You can al­so follow me at the ra­dio show down­town Il­ja, at Ber­lin Com­mu­ni­ty, or on www.ka­ri­lam­ sc: How did this col­la­bo­ra­tion come about? ik: Saskia Neu­man, the glo­bal art ma­na­ger at Ab­so­lut, ga­ve me a call. I sa­id 90% yes at the be­gin­ning, becau­se I didn't yet know the amount of work it would ta­ke. sc: The pro­ject is in­spi­red by ur­ban stre­et cul­tu­re. What is your re­la­tion to the sce­ne? ik: To quo­te Whit­ney Houston, “I'm eve­ry wo­man, it's all in me”. It's my soul, it's my he­art. I can´t re­al­ly vi­ew it from a distan­ce sin­ce I fe­el ve­ry in­vol­ved in the “sce­ne,” re­gard­less of what you want to call the gen­re or la­bel of it. sc: Tell me about the at­mosphe­re and mu­sic at

The Pre­si­dent Room? ik: Mu­sic is so im­por­tant. The in­stal­la­tion will fe­a­tu­re a chan­ging night­ly pro­gram of li­ve mu­sic, and per­for­man­ces. Tho­se will in­clu­de, among ot­hers, ex­pe­ri­men­tal Swe­dish pro­du­cer Ba­ba Stiltz and Bri­tish DJ, pro­du­cer and ra­dio pre­sen­ter Kay­per. Ot­her guest per­for­man­ces in­clu­de Fa­ze Miy­a­ke, a gri­me pro­du­cer and Rin­se FM DJ from East Lon­don who was the na­me­sa­ke of my 2014–15 ex­hi­bi­tion at Be­le­ni­us/nor­den­ha­ke in Stock­holm, and a li­ve per­for­man­ce by Swe­dish rap ar­tist JOY. Plus an im­promp­tu set by Gothen­burg ar­tist Et­zia. I'm do­ing so­me warm-up sets as well. Then all the new alu­mi­ni­um works, the sce­nic set­tings, the UV la­bels. The sculp­tu­ral nar­ra­ti­ve that we´ve tri­ed to en­for­ce on the au­di­ence. The light, the sounds, the fence wall di­vi­ders. I ho­pe the images of The Pre­si­den­ti­al Room can ex­plain mo­re. sc: What kind of mu­sic per­son are you? All-ea­ter? I´ve al­ways been deeply in­to Bri­tish mu­sic, a lot of “black” mu­sic, that's the stuff I can re­la­te to. But al­so li­ke Dutch te­e­nage sta­di­um house and all that. It's hard to de­fi­ne. sc: Your work ha­ve been ex­hi­bi­ted in ma­ny pre­sti­gi­ous art gal­le­ri­es. What would you say was your bre­akt­hrough in your ca­re­er? ik: Eve­ryt­hing. The first show, the next show, The Pre­si­dent Room. Eve­ryt­hing is im­por­tant. sc: What trig­gers your cre­a­ti­vi­ty? ik: The world, Fa­ze Miy­a­ke and you. Ra­dio chan­nel Rin­ But most­ly to get so­met­hing do­ne, for so­me­o­ne spe­ci­al to see it. I´d li­ke to pro­ve so­met­hing aest­he­ti­cal­ly. sc: Tell me about an art pie­ce that evoked strong emo­tions at the ear­li­est stage of your li­fe? ik: Mo­zart. I was pre­co­cious when I was young and lo­ved Mo­zart and Be­et­ho­ven. When I was 6 I li­stened to clas­si­cal mu­sic. Now I'm mo­re in­to to rap and house mu­sic. sc: Tell us about your ro­le mo­dels or pe­op­le that ha­ve in­flu­enced you? ik: Mo­zart again. And af­ter that the­re are too ma­ny to men­tion. Da­ni­el Birn­baum. Ul­la Ka­ri­lam­pi, Dad Ka­ri­lam­pi. Fa­ze Miy­a­ke, Niklas Be­le­ni­us, Saskia Neu­man and mo­re. Isa­bel­le Graw from Tex­te zur Kunst. Strong fe­ma­le ro­le mo­dels. sc: What do­es the col­la­bo­ra­tion with Ab­so­lut Art me­an to your ca­re­er? ik: A pos­si­bi­li­ty to ma­ke it hap­pen. The bor­ders was un­li­mi­ted. I had a vi­sion and it could come through, luc­kily. A who­le lot! sc: Do you ha­ve any ad­vice for aspi­ring ar­tists out the­re? ik: Yes, Do your thing. Do your thing. Do li­ke me but at the sa­me ti­me don’t. I don´t know.

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