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Interview of Alexander Kotchetov by Leon Krempel April 05

LK: You studied painting at the Academy in Kiev. Now you live and work in Munich. How did that come about?
AK: I have always dreamt of becoming an artist. When I was a child I drew comics based on pictures from the newspapers. When I was ill I asked my mother to hand me my painting things as soon as I was feeling a little better. However, there was a time when I wanted to become an archaeologist or a sportsman. My parents and the director of the art school, a war veteran, who liked my patriotic painting of the Russian cruiser "variag", decided what I would do. This is how I came to attend an art school for six years, a kind of privileged secondary school with an emphasis on art.

LK: Where is the Ukraine's location on a cultural map closer to Moscow or closer to Vienna?
AK: It's difficult to say, as a Russian born in the Ukraine, my soul feels closer to Moscow.

LK: Which kind of experiences did you make in Munich, where you studied for a few months within the framework of an exchange programme?
AK: To be honest, I didn't know at the time why I had come to Munich. In Munich abstract painting ruled. It is true that I had a few friends who painted figuratively. I especially liked the class of professor Weisshaar. I often went out into the street with my box of watercolours and my pad, instead of going to the Academy. I was fascinated by something that was little known in Kiev at the time, the open cafes in the summer, the waiters standing in front of the door, looking after the pretty waitresses ... my grant was spent soon enough. I didn't have a work permit, so I couldn't sell watercolours in the street. Even though Munich is regarded as being conservative and narrow minded, there are places in the city where I found those "fleurs du mal" my favourite author Baudelaire.

LK: Can you tell me where they are?
AK: (laughs) Yes, later on.

LK Now, who was interested in your watercolours?
AK: I expected to be criticised as being a "dinosaur" at the Munich Academy, but the professors commended me for my work. After that I graduated in Kiev, but friends brought me back to Munich. And there was this gentleman, whose name I do not want to mention. This gentleman saw me doing a watercolour while he was jogging in Nymphenburger Park. He bought it and became my patron. He has helped me a lot.

LK: Do you sometimes feel you want to paint other things than those expected from you?
AK: Of course I do, but I get a lot of commissions, which I cannot reject. After all, this is my job, I couldn't think of any other. However, I do not have enough time to for all the nice things that I have in my draft book.

LK: Still, you're working on the history of K. for yourself.
AK: Hush, don't tell anyone, I'd rather finish it first.



1. Seal , 2003, from the series "Behind the scenes", dedicated to Jean-Honoré Fragonard,
watercolour on paper, 50 x 40 cm

2. Make-Up , 2003, Outline from the series "Behind the scenes",
Indian ink/paper, 39 x 27,5 cm

3. Waitress in red , 2004, from the series "In the café",
watercolour on paper, 69 x 51,5 cm

4. In the late evening , 2002, from the series ""In the café",
watercolour on paper, 44,5 x 55 cm

5. Change , 1998, from the series "In the metro",
watercolour on paper, 40 x 50 cm

6. After the working day , 1998, from the series "In the metro",
watercolour on paper, 40 x 50 cm

7. Solitude , 1998, from the series "In the metro",
watercolour on paper, 40 x 50 cm

8. Model in the studio , 2004, from the series "Pygmalion",
watercolour on paper, 55 x 39,5 cm

9. Closing time , 2000, Pastel/paper, 52 x 70 cm