Aleksandra Mir

Tarzan and Jane

The Wrong Times, London, Jan 2006
By Maurizio Cattelan, Massimiliano Gioni & Ali Subotnick

The Wrong Times: What is real and what is fantastic?

Aleksandra Mir: People are real. Art is fantastic.

How important is the audience for your work?

I always say that public art is art about the public. The public reaction cannot be preconceived and people are only as nice and cooperative as they wants to be. You put something in their face and they like it, ignore it, take it further or destroy it. If you can handle this spectrum, I think you can handle "participation", If not, better do solitary work in a studio, and to me then, the work is about a different type of research and the audience really becomes irrelevant. After years of dedication to the public sphere, I am starting to feel a bit worn out and have recently started to develop a studio practice, although I hate being alone in it and often bring other people in to help, challenge or collaborate with me. This seems to create a perfect a social microcosm for where I am right now.

Do you see yourself as a social worker or educator?

Neither. If I did, I would have tried to get a higher education, diploma and a license in those disciplines, so to be recognized by those professional communities and been measured by their standards. Even though my art is socially engaged on many levels, I work in a tradition of art and play by a rule where I am in the end not willing to predict the consequences and effects of my artistic program that social workers or educators have to do in theirs. I also think the editorial process is different. I have the luxury to assign myself to my own problems.

Where is the border between ‘me’ and ‘us’?

A very very hard question. The border so easily dissolves in any strong relationship or family structure where people are making each other. Borders always become clearer in crisis though, so I like to think of an airplane security classic: "Be sure to help yourself to an oxygen mask before you help your child". The one who grabs the oxygen mask would be "me" while those who survive the crash, are "us". The question of taking responsibility is probably what defines the border then.

Are you optimistic?

Not always, but I am definitely striving for it. An optimistic critical aesthetic is the hardest thing to pull off.