What is important is the interaction of thought, material, and money. The idea has to be so large that the cost of the material would fade against that background.
What we can do is not get hung up on the material, but present the entirety of our bitter life in this. The way all these sticks lay strewn about, rotting, so too do our people. What would these guys do otherwise? Something awful. In the best scenario, they would go work as guards or cops, but even then, they get fired.
Before, some community would create truth for others, but now, blacks and Eskimos alike make everything only for tourist consumption. Traditions have degenerated everywhere from the far north to the far south. In our village, no one will make a scythe, or weave a basket, not even to mention a weaver's loom. Fellas have nothing to occupy themselves - only drink vodka, that's it. They live in the village, marry broads from Moscow sometimes, but it all ends badly. It's rare that anyone turns into a normal average Joe.
May be I too, had I not ended up in a certain environment, would not have known what to do with myself. One has to help them. I am, of course, a little afraid - after all, I lure them after me, seduce them. Like before when they would teach serfs to be musicians, artists - and then it's back to the cow barn.
Their relatives put pressure on them, want them to do something normal, have a job. But they run away anyway - because in this, there is a feeling of flight that does not exist anywhere over there. They are broad guys; it's easier for them to do something big rather than putter around
They are very receptive. They understand in an instant; how - I don't know, there aren't such words, after all, with which one could truly explain an idea to them. Plus it's not interesting that they should only make what I draw for them; one wants to be surprised by something. And they surprise. Right now they are making small-scale objects, small-scale sculpture - we call them toys or furniture. They do everything faultlessly - each in his own way, but within a plastic unity, a common style has been worked out.
Brutality, crudeness - I am also learning that from them. I can see, after all, how careless a Russian person is when he is relaxed - he takes a big old hammer, axe, or sledge - and starts plopping it down every which way. There is something in this recklessness of character, and we aestheticize this.
Of course, he won't be able to stand at a conveyor belt and make Mercedes cars - he'll do something different. "Poor" art, for instance. In general, we are, after all, a poor people; what other kind of art can we be making? It's not as if I'm some kind of nationalist; I'm not saying that we are the best. What we are, we are, and one has to use what he has - material, mentality, character.