Behind a heavy black curtain of a small studio near Chinatown (Milan), Tatiana Brodatch creates sculptures out of plasticine.
She was born in Moscow but fell in love with Italy since she started studying for her architecture bachelor at Milan Politecnico. Surrounded by her vibrant little figures, her intimate sketches on the walls and some music, we talked about life and art. And I asked her a few questions.
Why do you use plasticine as your main support? Do you think it expresses better the sexuality and movement of the bodies?
Everything started with the intention of shooting a little movie in stop motion.
When I was a child, I saw a lot of cartoons made with plasticine, and it seemed to be the easiest technique. So I bought some and started modeling. Later I also discovered that plasticine has a certain similarity with skin – when you look through it in the light, you can see the transparency and that gives a touch of sensuality to the sculptures. It is a soft material and it doesn’t harden or dry.
I think our brain perceives the fragility of it: the fact that if you touch it, it will no longer be the same, something will change. This makes plasticine comparable to life and yes, it makes it very sexy.
You need real bodies to shape your sculptures on. Do you think authenticity and humanity are the most important things in sculpture?
I do like to work with models. It gives a three dimensional perspective and makes it easier to stay precise to the anatomy, but humanity is definitely not in the form – I think it is in gesture, in the turn of a head, in the lifted shoulders, in the hands or feet.
I usually start my sculptures from the pose and the gesture and only when I can see the soul, the mood, the person, I proceed with the form of the figure.
Tell me about your drawings and illustrations. What’s the difference between pencils and sculptures in your art?
The drawings are my diary. Another way to exhibit myself, but in a light ironic way, not taking myself too seriously.
I create them with my phone and post them as instagram stories. I draw with only one finger and I would have never considered them more than that, until one day a friend of mine – a writer – asked me if she could use my sketches as illustrations for her articles.
I was happy to be useful, since her writings come out weekly in Italy and Argentina.
When I reached a hundred of them, I decided to arrange a little exhibition.
What about Seletti and your collaboration with the brand? What did it give you and would you do it again with other brands?
With Seletti I made a project named Love is a verb – a series of eight figures – singles and couples. It was an experiment for me as well as for them. Seletti had never produced objects without a function before.
They launched a line called Museum and I was one the first artists there.
It was different for me because eventually my sculptures would live in a design context: they would be presented at design fairs, be sold as objects to place in homes, products to live with.
We had no idea what the reaction would be. But now it looks like the project was appreciated and we are already preparing a second edition.
I also collaborate with the Ukranian fashion brand Litkovskaya: my sculptures have become accessories for three of their collections.
Collabs are very stimulating – they make me come out of my comfort zone, look for new ideas, forms and materials. I am very open to work with other brands or artists in the future.
Which parts of your Russian background do you translate into your works? Do you still feel it close to you?
Hard to say. Russian soul is slightly dark and this dramatic note comes out from time to time.
I have never felt close to Russia though – since I was a kid I knew I needed to find a place that was mine. When I first came to Italy, I fell in love with this country.
Russian culture is also very verbal, and I am purely visual. I need beauty around to be happy and to create.
I think that artistically Italy influenced me more than any other place.
So what about Milan and its artistic atmosphere? Do you think something is missing, what’s your opinion about the culture here?
Milan is a city with a particular creative energy. Italians have always been those responsible for the beauty in the world.
Considering the glorious story of art and architecture alone – during the XX century, Italy was the first one ahead in design and fashion industries and Milan became its creative laboratory.
Many dreams come true here and it is very inspiring, but at the same time after a while you realize that this city implements its rules.
Milan is creative but also rational. I personally miss seeing some sane artistic nonconformism that I may find in Rome instead.
Check out Tatiana Brodatch work here.