The Artist Exploring Human Interaction Through Plasticine

Born and raised in Moscow, artist Tatiana Brodatch's work explores our human interactions through plasticine sculptures. We met up to discuss censorship and blurring the lines between sex, nudity and art. 

You originally studied to become an architect, what changed your mind? 

I love architecture but I was missing speed and spontaneity. In architecture it takes years to “express yourself”. In addition, I’ve always been interested in the more intimate spheres of a human existence, so it was hard to speak of feelings in the language of architecture. I had to find a media that would let me capture and express the monumental sensation.

What inspired you to create these figures?

You know architects often slide into art, but imagining myself doing figurative clay works full-time, seemed impossible. It started as a joke – my friend and I decided to shoot a cartoon to send to some mid level film festival. It had to be funny and erotic. We thought anything would be funny out of clay, so I began sculpting. After a while they were no longer funny, still erotic but almost dramatic. Bony limbs, unfit bodies, low breasts and so on. It turned out to be sort of an art therapy for me at that time.

What are you trying to communicate? 

I think my work is about vitality, I might say love, but the term is a bit vague. I mean that magic push that – a touch a caress a kiss and sex, the physical interaction gives to a human being. I have a lot of this creative vital energy in me, it almost feels like abundant breast milk, I have to give it away. I would say that I decant it through my hands in the Plasticine. Delivering it through my sculpture or images.

Do you think the explicit presentation of sex is important?

Well, generally I think that art has to be explicit to move and to affect, for me the line between the explicit and non-explicit representation of sex is quite blurred.

How do people react to your work?

Mostly they find it amusing. it is something they had not seen before, erotic. ticklish. many say that they surprisingly admit that despite of my very weird media the got pleasantly excited.

Do you think we can look at a photograph or painting of naked body without associating it with sex?

Well probably at first our mind automatically makes an attempt to relate nudity to sex but I think we can both feel passionate desire towards a dressed person on an image and feel totally indifferent towards a naked body. Think it depends a lot on whether the artist or photograph sees the model an object or a subject. Often artists ‘use’ naked bodies as decorative elements or they are supposed to symbolise some concept or idea – this often has nothing to do with sex and does not really give way to associations. Yet when the artist sees and translates sexual energy of the model into the work, that is a different story.

We discovered your work on Instagram, an app known for censoring provocative imagery and even illustrations. Have you ever had any images removed?

It happens from time to time. The latest piece Instagram banned was very innocent. It was a Plasticine female breast with the light lines on it. I posted 3 of those and they banned the best one.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I am doing a big project right now, titled The Beach, it will be an installation of 30-35 figures on one big pedestal showing a nudist beach. The installation will be accompanied by a video consisting of 1-12 short episodes capturing the intimate moments of human behavior happening to the characters.