Natasha Lebedeva is a natural Russian artist from Saint Petersburg living in Mallorca.
At 18 she moved to Madrid where she studied at the School of Arts and Crafts; prints, photography, composition and digital support. Later she was awarded a scholarship in Mallorca by the Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation, and settled permanently on the island.
We have interviewed this singular artist with the purpose of seeing her relationship with Mallorca and of course knowing her work. We would like to highlight the passion she puts into talking about art, her sensibility and above all the balance in her life, the need to reconnect with what has shaped her being since childhood, together with the new findings in life.
• Something from your childhood.
My childhood revolved around sport more than art. The truth is that as a child I was attracted to dance even though I did not have the opportunity to practice it. The first paintings in oil I paint them with my mother and to her I have to thank my interest in art.
• You currently reside in Mallorca, when did you discover Mallorca for the first time?
I discovered Mallorca in 2001 participating in the engraving workshops of the Miró de Mallorca Foundation, which are usually done in summer months, I was in love with the island and I told myself that one day I would come back to stay.
• Many foreign artists of international renown, musicians, writers, painters ..., settled in Mallorca, what does Mallorca have?
A wonderful climate, a special light, a pleasant atmosphere, sea, mountain ... Mallorca has everything one dreams of, especially coming from the north. Here you do not feel isolated because there is a lot of activity in all the seasons of the year. There are very picturesque villages and its capital Palma, provides a very interesting social and cultural life. In addition Mallorca is very well connected with the Peninsula, and just a few hours by plane from any European city.
• What are your favorite places in Mallorca?
It is difficult to choose one, there are an infinity of wonderful places. I love taking walks through the Sierra de Tramuntana near Alaró, the town where I live, it gives me peace and inner balance. Also I can not forget the sea, highlighting Cala Blava, a quiet and very picturesque place, here I take my fins, my mask and I enjoy swimming, observing the incredible aquatic landscape, in the water, I feel free, leaving worries and ties in the shore.
• At what age and how did your interest in photography begin?
When I finished my engraving studies in 1999 I had my first Canon digital camera and started experimenting. I realized that photography had many possibilities and when discovering the world of the photoshop program, a creative field was open which gave me an absolute freedom of imagination, composition, concepts, etc. In this way I evolved from prints to digital printing, although I do not consider myself a photographer, I am a visual artist, I work with images and I also create them, I carry the photograph where I want it.
• What kind of images do you prefer to portray?
My work basically revolves around the female body. I love experimenting with the torsion of the body, modifying its volumes, looking for the other "me".
• Tell me about the enjoyment in your art.
Although there are very funny moments like in photo shoots with models, creation is not always an enjoyment. Creation is like a birth, sometimes long and hard, other times it comes out very naturally, but in the end there is a moment of satisfaction, when you find that point where you wanted to go.
• Tell me about the observer.
I'm interested in seeing the reaction of the spectators, although you cannot always be guided by their comments. It is clear that criticism helps, although sometimes the viewer needs to go through a process of acculturation, he must be humble in his ignorance and try to open his mind to new perspectives.
• In which galleries have you exhibited?
Individually in several galleries in Mallorca and in various cultural centers such as Binissalem or Alcudia. I would like to project myself outside Mallorca, in Europe, the United States or in my native country.
• When you start working with a photograph, do you have clear from the start what you want to get from it?
Not always, maybe I have an initial idea but the concept is usually modified.
• How is the process of your work?
I'm creating a very extensive photo base and when a line of work arises I search the archives for the material that can serve me, or I go out with the camera in their search. The most important process of my creation is developed later in the computer, where through Photoshop I am composing the works.
• What time do you take to make one of your compositions?
Some work can take months, another one day, depending on the complexity of each one. For example: in the series "Dreams under construction" I had to reposition the models in a natural way, create shadows, the appropriate tonalities, put something in their hands that they did not have, it is a very laborious job.
• What do you want to show to the observer with your works?
It is not about what I want, the work has its own life, I use a strong and impactful language, sometimes subtle, trying not to leave the spectator indifferent.
• What do you prefer the large format, or smaller sizes?
Everything depends on the message I want to convey. If we talk about an agglomeration of bodies or something that is very powerful, it is necessary to go to the large format. I use the reduced format for more intimate creations.
• We often see naked bodies in your works, tell me a little about this topic. What would you like the audience to see in those bodies?
It does not have to scare us to see a naked body, to this day it is quite usual. The body represents our nature. In some works I do not seek to capture the essence of the character as an individual, what I really do is work the flesh (body) in its multiplicity. Later I locate those bodies in places looking for the sublimation of the "me". In other works I look for the similarity of all in front of the faith, stripped of clothes. I work with the female body, because for me women represent the unicode of life, the axis of the family and the basis of faith.
• Is there support for artists?
Little and each time there are less, the crisis takes its toll in the first place on culture. People cannot live without eating, drinking, dressing and having a roof over their heads ... and art for the majority is something dispensable. Personally, I believe that art is a fundamental basis of education and coexistence in a civilized society.
• A tip for art lovers in the field of photography.
Photography cannot be pigeonholed in the typical genre we know. My advice is to try to enjoy photography in all its possibilities, in all its breadth.
Elogio de la Carne (2006)
Dreams under construction (2010)