Talk with OLYA WIESE

This time we are trying out new interview format, which is closer to a usual conversation, than an interview.

Olya Wiese is one of our first guests who started Skyscraper collection.

– Hello, how are you?

– I have just arrived from Portugal, if you ever wonder how to spend your holiday go to surf, it's amazing!

– And no architecture is needed.

– No-o-o that's important too.

– What do you do now?

– The last semester of my master program is beginning soon. I need to tell my prof about my idea – it's about using catacombs in my hometown. And I'm also preparing an exhibition and assisting an art advisor.

– How's dealing with art?

– Right now I'm helping to find paintings for an office space. We chose abstract landscapes by a Japanese artist Miyuki Tsugami.

There are also some wealthy clients from France, that were buying a lot of painting at random at some point. And my task right now is to bring some order in all that mess: to understand where to fence the ones they don't need in their collection, and what other paintings they need in order to make their collection more complete.

– Seems like you learned a lot about art since you started working with the guy?

– Yes, and I became disappointed.

– With art?

– Yes, there's a lot of worthless stuff. And almost everything is done through «contacts». «A friend of mine know a guy who's a painter, let's put his stuff». Although my boss supports artists, who are not known at all, but it's hard to push someone up, who doesn't have a market value.

– Do you think an artist is glad his paintings are bought to fill in spaces?

– Yes, of course. You know, I've found out that many buyers just throw their paintings away, as soon as they loose their market value. This can not not sadden you. I almost cried when I found out!

– We can collect all those paintings and make an exhibition of «abandoned art»!

– Yes, exactly!

Tsugami Miyki.

– As well as collect all materials rom the construction sights that weren't used and then resell or reuse them.

– Exactly! Similarly me and my friend want to use those narrow spaces between buildings, you know, where there are only 2-3 meters in width. Would be nice to use those places to create exhibitions or other publics spaces.

– Architecture that you don't even need to build.

– A kind of useful and cool growth! (Laughing). Although it's a pity those places are usually are fenced with some kind of metallic mesh or fence. But we can make a kind of tall bridge over it!

– Yeah it would lure people in. And what do you think about architecture where a wall needs to be covered by a painting?

– You know, there's a lot of architecture right now, where there's only glass and steel present. One of our last clients has a house exactly like that, and so the only place he can place a painting is a corridor. That's not okay, a painting shouldn't be placed in a place like that. And a house most of which walls are made of glass isn't well-fit for a cosy living. I would like to create architecture that is very close to nature, something cave-like.

– Oh I can tell what you recently have read!

– What do you mean?!

– Mistaken, seems like you don't follow our latest articles! (Both laughing). Your view on architecture changed a lot.

– Yes, it became more open and i'm very glad about it. You can do whatever you want! Earlier I thought, that things can be done only in a certain way, but there are no boundaries to that!

– Dealing with art changed that?

– I don't think that's the reason, I think it was something else.

– Oh, you have an Apple Watch, how do you like them?

– Yeah, my boyfriend gifted them to me, but they got me (laughing). I like running...

– How much do you run?

– I run around 10 km at a time. And this watch keeps telling me what to do. Today they told me to breath! What does it mean?! (Laughing). Look right now they are telling me to stand up and walk around and here I am sitting in the middle of a cafe (laughing).

– By the way, what's this place?

– Called «Public», a very nice place. Everyone is sitting and working here.

– Yes they work everywhere these days. Remember that project where you smashed walls, what was it about?

– Yes we made it for a theatre in Hamburg. They had some unused space, and we were given it to fill with whatever we wanted. And I decided to show that, which is always close to us, but we never notice – plasterboards. Many of our apartment walls are made of this material, and we don't even know the feel of it. So we made this archetypically-shaped house and made holes in its walls. Anyone who entered it could start breaking it.

– What the latest projects?

– O-oh there were two nice projects. One was at a carpet warehouse! There are so many cool spaces here [in Hamburg] which people can not enter just like that. We have chosen a few spots like that and organised exhibitions inside of them. The idea was to make the space itself part of the exhibition. So we left all those carpets where they were and placed the pieces between them.

And the second project was very unusual. We found a place, where we took our ballerina friend. We told he to dance that space. It was amazing, she spent around an hour before she understood how to translate the feeling of the space into movement.

Then we brought here to a place, that we marked as «neutral» and asked her to dance the same dance again. This time my partner, who wasn't involved in the project before, was watching her. He didn't see the first space, that created the dance. And he started translating her dance in some space that he was imagining while watching her dance. Then he created a 3D model and a physical model of the space he'd drawn.

And after this we organised and exhibition, where a visitor is placed between two large screens. On one of them they see the girl dancing next to the initial space that created the dance, and on the other they can see her dancing on the «neutral» background. So they can feel the contrast. And then the visitor is offered to look at the space my partner has created out of this dance.

– You know what happened recently?!

– What?

– I've been to a concert in Cologne, but I don't remember the band's name (laughing). I got tickets for a friend of mine, it was her birthday. So we are on the train already, being on our way there. And I realise that I left my tickets at home, and the organisation [of the concert] is such that they do not provide digital tickets. I was in shock, almost brought myself to tears. Found this band on Instagram, texted all of them. My friend didn't have any faith that this could make any difference. And after half an hour their guitar player texted me back. Well I'm just texting with him, I don't know the band well, but my friend was in freaking out they answered us (laughing). In the end, they let us in in the first row of the fan zone, where we wouldn't have gotten with our usual tickets.

But what stroke me the most was the girls in the fan zone. They reacted very strongly to the songs. Groupies.

– What do you listen to these days?

– Recently I've been listening to all the old stuff: Depeche Mode and Bryan Ferry (love it!) to name a few, but I listen to all different kinds of music. I have N.E.R.D - Provider as my ringtone since high school. By the way, people who send me music are special (smiling).

– A few last questions and I let you go. Why did you decide to tune in with us and make a collection?

– I wanted to have something for myself and my group of friends who I was finishing my bachelor program with. So I got a pair for myself and for them as a gift.

– What would you like to get as a pocket-sized gift?

– Earrings? (Laughing).

– Which places one should visit in Hamburg?

– These days I like to drink coffee at Hermetic Coffee Roasters and Public, where we are at right now.


You might also visit Kunsthalle, they are exhibiting Edith Dekyndt right now. It's about the moment of movement, quite interesting, but the permanent exhibitions are good as well.

Edith Dekyndt

– Last pictures from your album that you can share?

– This one is from the movement that would like to raise attention to the problem of climate change. It's about having the average temperature raised too high for a too short period of time. There's no planet B.

Feel free to ask Olya any questions in the comments, we will reply you with her answers.

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