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Reflections on Desire

Umělec magazine 2005/1

01.01.2005

Zuzana Štefková | research | en cs

Artists of the youngest generation

We’ve been thinking about desire. The following “material” is the result of a few weeks of gathering interviews on the subject of desire. We’ve addressed ten young artists (art school students, recent graduates) whose work we see touching on the theme of desire; this need not be primarily desire. More than some scientific categorization we were interested in capturing the atmosphere following this theme in the present day. With exceptions these are fragments of interviews, because interview seemed to us an appropriate means of “examining” such an intimate subject.

Woman - artist, 26


To long for something means to feel that my wings are growing. That’s a state of realizing God’s existence. Desire is no rat race for gratification; it is a state of experiencing extreme freedom.

Artist, X

Today desire is mixed with lust, and lust is deceptive, it is short-lived. A desire for something big, something real that really means something—that’s something else. This is linked with belief. Desire as a life style. To manage something and have something, for good. I don’t link desire with short-lived things, that is lust.

Artist, X

(Desire is) something reachable, and people know that, but you have to put some effort into it, some movement—that’s desire. It’s a human impulse to move somewhere. The subject in itself is very general. Everybody has desire and when it is absent, there is no movement and you don’t evolve.

Artist, ?
A whole man seeks happiness. He wants to be happy. He wants to find real happiness but nothing’s that way. But he might achieve something specific, get to some kind of preliminary phase. My mission is to stand up for my being, to justify why I am here and that’s the biggest task. It should be the same in art. And I also long for justice. I haven’t lately been wanting to look at myself. I’m interested in society from a global point of view and social levels.

Artist, 24

It’s all my ambitions connected to art.

Artist, 24

I take desire slightly perversely.

Woman - artist, 26

It’s a significant pressure that can be felt, but it comes out of your own soul or imagination, from a fleeting glimpse of the world, outer as well as inner. It tastes both bitter and sweet. In any case it is what kicks me, getting me to act to satisfy my needs. Desire is a part of our life, it’s an impulse to wake up in the morning. Although it has many faces, the word is mostly associated with instinctive desire, with sexuality.

Artist, ?
Desire is something ungraspable. It is the motivation of our life, you long for something all your life, for anything, but the problem is that people are confused, they long for something they shouldn’t want, or they are confused by the media. I have always wanted my dreams to come true. But when they do, people often sober up. It’s always that way. When you realize desire, it’s meaning goes away and you let the desire go.

Last August, I watched a TV documentary about an operation altering male genitals into a woman’s. It was amazing: It was a superior sculpture, real-life “body-art.” They were ineffective as gory images. Rather, they rendered desire in its rawest, most physical form. Desire isn’t something exterior; it is to be what you feel inside, in your heart. Here, then, is a contribution from Míla who was the person spotlighted on the TV program.

Míla, XX, XY

Desire is a wish to be who I am: a woman. I fulfilled that long after my own recognition and confession. For me the operation meant continuing with my life. I had been bearing a painful burden. Desire had been to end my life early, without the “pain” inflicted on me by society’s judgments. It was a wish to be what I am without the need to hide or walk the streets, not round the sewers, or a wish to live without being dumped by those who don’t know that I have the same right to live as they do, this is important. I am trying to protect myself and to publicly show that I am not the only one in the world and that there are people living in society who don’t necessarily fit into either of those two artificially created categories of sex: man and woman.

Woman - artist, 25

Sometimes I meet a man. I want him very much and suddenly
I pay attention and I am grateful for his presence. My work is the same way. I love it, I want to go on, to experiment. But that’s a recent thing.

Woman - artist, 25

Desire is when you want something very much; it’s like falling in love. It can be when you want something so much that you must do something even if you don’t want to. There are many things that are not possible, but this is something so strong inside a person that they have to. Sometimes, I’ll go past a shop and I can see a nice jacket or a T-shirt, fall in love with it and long for that T-shirt. When I go inside I say to myself: “I’ll just try it on,” but suddenly I need to purchase it.

Woman - artist, 25

I have often dreamed about a rabbit. I love rabbits. Once I saw a film where there was someone dressed as a rabbit and this fascinated me completely. Recently I showed it to my mother, and she said, “Don’t you have anything better to do?” and I answered, “It’s totally important for my life.”

Woman - artist, 25

Desire is the basis of life. Why do we live? Everything is useless. Because we have desires inside us, that’s why we have to live.

Woman - artist, 30

Inward feelings. It is the individual, and it is hard for me to talk about it now. I think desire is much deeper than what I did, it is something I wouldn’t make public.




01.01.2005

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