Julia Kissina is a mysterious empath who creates enigmatic, somewhat dark, drawings. The characters and scenes explore the finesse of human nature and subsequent vices. Kissina explains that her process is like "making a movie on paper". Isolation during COVID, when Kissina began these drawings, was the perfect scenario for her to connect with her subliminal self and work on these extraordinary drawings.
The correspondence below is regarding her processes and her past performances and literary works. My quest to gain some insight into her mind produced more mystery in some way. One thing that I learned and may of inherently always known about Julia is that she is a poet and all of her work is a lyric to something larger that is all quite magical.
TUSSLE: In your artist statement for your drawings you mentioned that all of the works are through the eyes of a transsexual. Can you please explain the idea or story behind this reference.
Julia Kissina: To be honest, I don't remember talking about it, please remind me where. But sometime in my early youth I was impressed by Otto Weininger's classic (book) “Sex and Character“. Maybe I'm still under the impression. But androgyny has nothing to do with the current fashion for transsexuality.
T: How do the drawings relate to your other bodies of work, your writing, your photography, your performance work?
JK: Drawings are just another work field. Paper, words, or the gloss of photography are just the languages into which I translate my perception. But these languages need to be learned. So it's a matter of skill and concentration.
T: How do you come up with the characters in your drawings? Is it a meditative process? Is it from dreams? Or do you have these characters set in your mind, is it and is it a continuing story or are they all different?
JK: I don't really come up with anything. I talk about what I see around me, making movie on paper. This is true independent cinema without beginning or end. I have actors and characters, stars, animals, magicians, maniacs and libertines. I have castles and deserts, planets and mouse holes at my disposal. Recently, someone from my acquaintances said that this is a movie that cannot exist. During work, I get into a trance. I don't need alcohol or drugs to get into that condition. All I need is isolation. So the recipe is simple.
T: "Elephantinas Moscow Years", ... I am very very curious about your writing because it's such a literal extension of your creativity and your mind, vision. Can you explain what this novel is about? And will any of your published works be available in English so I can read them?
JK: “Elephantinа” is a novel about how one can overcome tragedy with the help of poetry, something like Hamsun's „Hunger“, but with "dancing on ears". Actually, all my texts and all my artworks are about this. This novel has been translated into various European languages, but not into English. I'm waiting for the publishers themselves to find out about my existence and descend from heaven on a silver rope-ladder.
T: What are you working on now? Do you plan on continuing the drawings as a consistent series? Or are you going to work on something different or do you worm on a number of things simultaneously?
JK: I can never do something at the same time. This is out of the question. All the unwritten novels and unpainted paintings are waiting in line for me to create them, and I try not to offend any of them. I have many plans, but I can't talk about them. This will kill them.
T: I know that you spend your time in New York City and also in Berlin, how does this change your work, are there any similarities or differences in each location that you can share with us?
JK: In Berlin I live in a big triangular room with pictures. There I have good friends, conversations, books and so on. But all this is too nice, and yet I was born in an "Evil Empire", and I am drawn to extreme people and situations. Therefore, in New York, I feel at home. There is a lot of insanity, infantile ambitions and a colossal criminal potential. In New York, all human vices and secret desires are exposed. And while culture lies about the victory of goodness and justice, gangsters run the show. On the other hand, there is an incredible number of saints, idealists and fanatics of all stripes. It all looks like a vampire children's party. It's inspiring.
Julia has recently published a catalogue of her work titled Phantom Gallery which accompanies her exhibition that closes on December 4th at CB diesel power plant, Brandenburg Museum of Modern Art, Germany curated by Ulrike Kremeier. Kissina will be showing her drawings in Berlin at BB Galerie, December 9 - 10th, 2022.
Follow Julia and her drawings on Instagram!