Salomeya Bauer (@artist_salomeya_bauer) is a film director and artist from Tbilisi. Salomeya’s art focuses on comprehending borderline states of mind and mental crisis through her films. In her painting, she likes to raise questions about gender.
Gestures, which humans are doing unintentionally, revealing their emotions inspire Salomeya the most. She also finds inspiration from myths and epochs. Giving new interpretations to character’s deeds, finding and making up their hidden reasons are her artistic interests.
For instance, referring to her Bleeding Beast painting, she states, “I am the first artist who saw the minotaur as a woman.” To avoid the failure of becoming static, Salomeya lives and changes without fear and doubts. Being one of our beloved artists here in Artleove, we had a chance to talk about her art with Salomeya Bauer.
Inspirations to Salomeya’s Art
Do you think, your artworks also has a performative side in them?
Of course, if the viewer is ready to walk along that path with me. I’ll explain: I often hide “easter eggs” on my canvases – details which help to understand the plot. That particular patch from aesthetic perception to submerging into the painting is a performative side. But I am not imposing that view.
Do you have paintings from other artists in your house, which ones?
From my grandfather, I inherited the painting «Saint Mary with Jesus» by an unknown 19th-century author. In my childhood that painting was hanging opposite of my bed and I often observed it before sleep. And there was a Marilyn Monroe portrait from the Movie Stars magazine, which my grandmother was collecting, hanging nearby.
Two of those female images, so contrasty, but so harmonically co-existing nearby, were implanted in my subconsciousness and, I think, influenced me as an artist. After all, my art is a story of a woman in a modern world, who deserves to be canonized just for being a woman.
I cannot yet afford original paintings of the great masters of modern classics for my home collection. I have paintings and drawings of my friends, which I value a lot and posters from museums: «The garden of Earthy delights» by Hieronymus Bosch, «Almond Blossom» by Van Gogh, some reproductions of Frida Kahlo, Picasso, Salvador Dali, Piet Mondrian, Joan Miró, Amedeo Modigliani, Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, Mark Rothko, etc. And also, I am going to organize art swaps, where my artist friends could be able to exchange their works and by doing so, create their own collections of modern artist’s works.
If we’re talking about actual artists, I am following the list of modern Georgian artists: Eteri Chkadua, Vakho Bugadze, Lasha Tsertsvadze, Levan Songulashvili, Irakli Mereli. Foreign artists which I like: Adrian Villar Rojas, Jenny Saville, Marlene Dumas, Grayson Perry, Emilio Villalba, and many others, which I can’t count.
What was the first exhibition that you visited?
I grew up in a very small city in the North Caucasus. We never had any big art events, and I wasn’t inspired by anything from the local museum. When I was eighteen, I moved to the megapolis and became able to travel. One of the first countries I visited was Spain. I was always attracted to «great Spaniards», I was raised on Luis Bunuel’s movies, Cervantes’ «Don Quixote» and albums with Salvador Dali’s paintings.
However, the real and unrivaled impression for me was Pablo Picasso. I am not a fan of all his art, but I immensely respect him as an artist. And a visit to his museum in Barcelona is stored in a collection of my memories. When I visited it, I had a clear feeling that I am looking at treasures of world culture, which absorbed and overgrew visual art before the XX century, playing and winning for a place in eternity.
Later on, there was a Prado museum, Hermitage, Pushkin museum, Tretyakov gallery, which has «The Demon Seated» by Mikhail Vrubel. (One of my favorite paintings!)
But, the art which grew on XX century’s shocks, the art which provokes thoughts, and not only holding the decorative function is closer to me.
Do you have any favorite books and authors? Do they inspire you?
I adore science fiction – read almost all Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein. I love Nikolay Gogol, Michail Bulgakov, Michail Kharms, Samuel Beckett, Knut Hamsun, Franz Kafka, Hermann Hesse, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Henry Miller, Milan Kundera, Gabriel Garcia Lorca, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Marina Tsvetayeva e.t.c.
Also I love to read diaries and biographies of famous artists, musicians, and directors. Recently I’ve read “Just Kids” by Patty Smith, Pablo Picasso’s biography, and also I liked Marina Abramovic’s memoirs a lot.
I also love fairy tales and myths. On my shelf you can now find «The Tale of Tales» by Giambattista Basile, «The Metamorphoses of Apuleius», Mary Renault’s books about Thesseus and Alexander the Great, «Dictionary of Khazars» by Milorad Pavić and some art magazines.
Which movie do you watch over and over again?
In my teenage years, it was the “Fear and loathing in Las Vegas”. Later, in student years it was “The sheltering sky” by Bernardo Bertolucci – I was showing it to my film crew at the beginning of every new movie to tune them on the “pure cinematic language”. And now there is no such movie, even though maybe Francois Truffaut’s “The 400 blows” and first “The Matrix” movie always give me joy.
An Artist From Tbilisi
Which city do you live in? Do you get inspiration from your city?
I live in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and love my city with endless love. It is overwhelmed with contrasts, and even when it seems that I know everything, it still surprises me. Tbilisi always was an international city and absorbed the cultures of many different countries and eras. Mauritanian-style mansions, Soviet brutalism, and transparent glass buildings from the world of the future eclectically coexist with each other. That is the charm. You can see antique things in people’s homes that they use and don’t hide on the shelves, and original paintings of Picasso and Matisse.
Taxi drivers can have 3 diplomas and talk about any theme, and your neighbor could be a world-famous musician. This city cannot be uninspiring, those who visited it once are coming back again and again.
How do you earn life? Are there other things you do besides your art to survive?
Sometimes I do commercial shootings, collaborate with Georgian clothes designers, do murals in Hotels and Restaurants. But mainly I focused on my art, which is not restricted by anything, I am talking about paintings and movies. And people are buying my art. It means it inspires them, as they want to see my works at their homes and ready to pay for them.
Do you have any turning points in your life regarding your art?
In my childhood, I had a diary and there was a note: «Human is the one most interested for another human.» That thesis forms my whole art. And I can say that the turning point was my decision which I made at a pretty young age – I will do only what I want to, what inspires me, and never going to do what I don’t want, even if it is highly paid.