Art & New Cultural Journeys

Of Lights & Spaces

In conversation with the artist Michael Pinsky

Michael Pinsky is currently one of the most versatile and  interesting British conceptual artists who has long been operating at an international level.

Each new work is  perfectly designed as a complex architecture and treated as a real high-impact social phenomenon, representing an opportunity for the increasingly active involvement of the public. He has brought "Survey", one of his most engaging and involving projects, to China, a new frontier for many international contemporary artists.

History and stories, external and internal environments, lights, shadows, photons, technological tools, photo, projections, sounds, videos, new materials and people, constitute the main mix of each of this artist's work which is welcomed by the most prestigious art galleries and foundations and awarded by major institutions and organizations for the promotion and dissemination of contemporary visual arts.

Art for people everywhere seems to have become one of the main engines that inspires each of Pinsky’s creative concepts; a blue glow emanating from a ring around a monument in Piccadilly Circus can become relevant as ever, because it represents one of the only medium to express a precise message; one which is otherwise invisible if proposed with much more traditional means and outdated.

A municipal swimming pool in an historic Victorian site, with just-in-time screenings on the mirror reflective water, would appear to be neither more nor less than a technological contrivance if there were no direct participation of a the public to reinforce a concept full of meanings. In fact, the interactive works of Michael Pinsky, succeed through the immediacy and freshness of their conceptual message and for the charm of technological artifice that the depth and intensity of his projects can easily express.

There is beauty everywhere, there's also intensity, there is consciousness and awareness in all of us, ordinary people, interspersed between visions and daily stories; we just need to capture the signals at the appropriate time and to decipher the essence.

Through his amazing personal and expressive figure, Michael Pinsky has learned to apply expressive languages, history and stories, in a very unique and wonderful form of everyday photo frames which tell of the numerous micro-societies of today in clear, kaleidoscopic and absolutely original storyboards, and accomplices which explore the light, the environments and the creative and unseen energies of many humans.

In this regard, however, at a time when in many European countries there is a resurgence of interest in painting and photography, in which is always easier to recognize the role of the artist, what is it exactly that makes Michael Pinsky a different artist from so many others?

But then,why define him in this way? What really does the artist Michael Pinsky have that countless others have not? Anyway, this is just become another story that will be told by Michael Pinsky.


1) Thanks Michael for your participation. So: A bit of an artist and a bit not. But who is today the artist, how is the figure of an artist currently identified, beyond the abuses of the attribution of the term that are not always exactly relevant. Michael Pinsky: is he an artist or maybe a visionary storyteller?

M.P. The term of artist is often rather stretched, as is the definition of art, but I think I can safely call myself as an artist. There are certainly other aspects to my practice, which in some cases overlaps with other disciplines including; architecture, urban planning, politics and cartography.

2) As we like to imagine, at one time artists were born and, possibly were discovered as such; Today, the Creative Industry machine, sometimes compromised by an economic system which seems to be increasingly crushing and corrupt, literally produces ‘artists’ who are increasingly sponsored by those who today establish who is an artist and who is not, regardless of their actual technical and expressive capabilities. Who really created Michael Pinsky and who decided that he would become an artist as many others claim him to be?

M.P. Thankfully, I was lived through a time in Britain when education was seen as basic human right not a highly priced commodity, so I was able to decide freely to follow my interest in the arts without considering the financial consequences.

3) More than an artist as classically defined, many people would define you as a visual storyboarder, a sort of director of projects attached to a different model of public art which is reproducible everywhere. What would you say about it?

M.P. Currently concerns in art in general, and particularly art in public realm, push far beyond the object to consider the interplay of the art project with both the physical and social environment implicated in the artwork/process. That being said, this is nothing new, with Land Art and Fluxus in the 60’s and Dada well before that. Its just that this approach is becoming more mainstream. 

4) Do you use a mixture of technology and new materials in order to re-invent stories that are already known or do you do this to activate new expressive and conceptual methodologies?

M. P. I use whatever resources are available to me, whether these are traditional materials or current technology. I would consider it odd to exclude any tools or materials from the pallet of possibilities, after all, painters over the centuries have alway been searching for the latest blend of ingredients to mix new colours.

5) What was your best project and what was your worst project? And, in both cases, why?

M. P. I couldn’t pull out a single ‘best’ project. The projects have a variety of intentions, work over different time periods and have huge differences in budgets. My worst projects are the ones that don’t happen. I would guess that at least half of my projects don’t happen for one reason or another. Each completed project is like a small miracle.

6) Are the audience an integral part of your performance or are they an accidental element of collective entertainment, a normal consequence of all your creative projects?

M.P. The audience is certainly integral, I consider the relationship between the artwork and the audience/participants from the initial conception of the project.

7) What are you working on now?

M.P. I am working on projects in Cambridge and Hull in the UK, Belval in Luxembourg, Fez in Morocco and Boston in the USA. I am also showing a new edition of my work ‘Viral Planting’, which has been commissioned for ART 15,  in May.

8) Many artists have never received media or public funding, despite having all their papers in order and respecting all forms of required guidelines for every possible funder. The answers they receive from fund managers is more or less the same: "We cannot see how your project will impact on tourism or benefit the public or increase local cultural heritage". What would you like to say to these managers who are, apparently, not really well trained in recognising, experience and expertise, "... when there is art rather than where there is art," to cite a phrase of the great David Cooper?

M.P. I have to say that I have always been relatively well funded from these very organisation, so I can’t really comment on this. If you really consider the criteria of the funder you have a good chance of being funded.



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