When I am in Paris, I always sleep at my dear friend Arlette's on the sofa in the apartment full of designer furniture on Boulevard Magenta in the 10th district. The sofa is narrow, but perhaps because of the excellent climate of the room or perhaps because of the "altar" towards which she directs her chanting every morning at 10 o'clock, I sleep extremely well there. Arlette is 82 years old, and we often spend hours on the sofa or in her bed having exciting conversations about life. I ask her for advice as often as she asks me. Because - as I have learned from our conversations - people who engage with their existence ask themselves the same questions over and over again in concentric circles, taking stock of their lives.
Kristina Kulakova and Anita Schmid are this kind of people. Their art results in an expansion of their "inner life," if you will. Both women have had consciousness-expanding experiences in other cultures and have thus found access to sources of inspiration that remain closed to many. Their formal language is, therefore, recognizable and, at the same time, unique. The hazy color transitions of Anita and the delicate balancing of the sculptural elements of Kristina each have something almost transcendental.
The artistic practice of both literally demands that you come to a standstill or at least a radical deceleration. The pigments Anita applies onto the rough paper must be meticulously rubbed into the surface with her finger for minutes to preserve their refractive depth and fluid transitions. At Kristina Kulakova's studio, there are exactly 3 hours of perfect light conditions for photographing. But to keep her ikebana-like arrangements seemingly stable against all laws of gravity long enough to take a photo requires a Mikado level of stillness. Often the elements are stacked with the fragility of a house of cards, and a door closing or the movement of water droplets on one of the objects can already rock the sculpture. An almost meditative state is thus intrinsic to the creation of Anita's and Kristina's works.
The elements that Kristina arranges into sculptures are dadaistically disjointed objects that only acquire an aesthetic and compositional value through the artist's composition. Kristina says, "They are elements whose incompatibility is no longer questioned once they have aesthetic value." It is quite often similar to personality development. Diversely gifted individuals are frequently described as disoriented until the different aspects of their personalities and divergent interests combine to produce admirable and/or productive results.
Anita's path to painting and sculpture passed through photography. She also conjugated configurations of bodies in space. Much of her work is a patient study of classical modern architecture, often working with the golden ratio, which also remains very present in her painting. Her artistic output, whether in painting or in the wall objects of stone and mirror, is a constant pursuit of the "beautiful form" in nature, architecture, composition, and inner spiritual life.
Anita and Kristina have managed mainly to live in the ideal state of a utopian future, where work is done by machines and humankind can concentrate on philosophy, spiritual development, and the creation of beauty.