Alfie Ljuljdjuraj | intervista all’artista di Emma Coccioli

Alfie Ljuljdjuraj

Alfie Ljuljdjuraj – Title Vala in Montenegro Oil on digital print Date 2012 Dimensions 8in x 11

Alfie Ljuljdjuraj | intervista all’artista di Emma Coccioli per Milano Arte Expo 2015 –

Alfie Ljuljdjuraj è una giovane artista nata in Jugoslavia e cresciuta in America. Grande amica del fotografo Ryan Pfluger, che ritrae la gioventù di nuovi hippies, anche Alfie Ljuljdjuraj ha un interesse a raccontare la sua generazione. Diverse le tecniche utilizzate in pittura – figurativa e astratta- e in fotografia, spesso rielaborata successivamente con interventi pittorici. Un lavoro fresco, delicato e intimo. Le fotografie descrivono la vita quotidiana, per questo hanno un carattere molto semplice, spontaneo e narrativo; non viene fatto uso di grandi artifici tecnici, non c’è manierismo né spettacolarizzazione. Uno stile per alcuni aspetti interessante proprio per il fatto che si fatica, spesso, a riconoscere l’ opera d’arte fotografica da quello che vuole essere soprattutto un racconto sincero, vero della vita.

Vorrei segnalare, tra gli artisti sulla stessa scia di Alfie Ljuljdjuraj e Ryan Pfluger, anche Ryan McGinley e Andrew Lyman: tutti prendono in qualche modo spunto dai movimenti libertari degli anni sessanta e settanta.


It is true that the feminist movement has freed us women from heavy constraints, but do you think it might have also brought some negative results ?

I may have grown up in America but I was raised differently that most of my friends. My parents are pretty conservative albanians. I was actually born in Yugoslavia and was brought to the United States as an infant. My parents were very traditional in their gender roles. Growing up my sister and I were not allowed to date. Over the years they have become much more liberal. I think having very liberal children had something to do with that. I can not relate to the mainstream versions of feminism to be honest. I have had to fight different battles in my life. I have fought hard in my own life to break apart from gender roles. I really do think they are destructive. Of course I believe that we should all be treated the same. I am just not one to associate myself with a large group of people because we may see eye to eye on a few things. I am not sure if feminism has brought negative changes. Maybe perhaps some women are fighting a war they have already won ? I appreciate all the work that women before my time have done. Of course there are still problems in America, for example women still get paid less. The media provokes a lot of thinks in a negative way. Women and men are still “slut shamed” whenever a story about sex breaks in the news cycle. I think it’s ridiculous, people should never be shamed for having sex. It is a natural and beautiful thing … What I mean to say by “some women are fighting a war that we have already won” is that we can not let the media provoke and perpetuate gender equality at a time in our society when we are making progress. We must always remember as women how far we have come, and also try to not alienate women who have grown up in different ways than us, and their ideas of equality. An upper middle class white woman would most likely have a different experience as a women than a first generation hispanic woman. Maybe we also often forget that feminism has to do with men too ? I had a conversation with a friend not too long ago: we discussed the men from our generation, and how they may have been taught that it was okay to show emotion, but they were never taught how. For men from our generation that were brought up in strict gender roles it might be difficult to realize that, just because they are men, it doesn’t mean they can not cry, or be sensitive. It might be difficult to realize that women are strong and independent and do not need men’ s help. It almost feels like this point in history is transitional and we are all just trying to find our place.

Alfie Ljuljdjuraj

Alfie Ljuljdjuraj – don’t let them make you small date 2013 – technique graphite and acrylic on paper – dimensions 8.5 in X 11in

Which contemporary artists do you admire and why ?

I love Gerhard Richter. His work to me is thrilling. I enjoy how he doesn’t just do one type of work or style. It is refreshing to see how he takes risks in various mediums and the works are always so wonderful and rich in color. I love Jenny Saville’s work also. I like how committed she is to her subjects. I thought she portrayed heavy set women in a way that was not degrading to their body types. She painted them in a way that almost screamed to me “this is my body, I am not at war with it”. I think it’s important for artists to address how ridiculous some of the expectations for womens bodies are. In my life I have seen women do awful things to themselves to lose weight. I’ve seen women throw up after eating, I’ve seen women starve themselves, and I’ve seen them use drugs all for the purpose of having a thinner body. Of course everyone should strive to be healthy. But all these things just to look like women on television and covers of magazines are just so sad for me to see. The women they aspire to be do not exist. They are airbrushed and photoshopped to a point where they hardly resemble a real women. I am not judging anyone with weight issues. I just wish so badly that people would try and embrace the beauty that they possess. To me Jenny Saville addresses this issues so clearly in her work. The women she paints are proud. Her paint strokes are strong.

What do you think of the work of Nan Goldin ? And about the work of Marlene Dumas ?

I have a few Nan Goldin books. I am in love with her photography and love the way she seems to capture these fragile and private moments. When I look at her work I almost feel like I am intruding, perhaps looking at something that was not meant for my eyes. It would be difficult for me to achieve this result … I have a lot of respect for Nan Goldin. I saw an exhibit and MOMA of Marlene Dumas in NYC a few years ago. It was a pleasure to be in a room surrounded by her works. I love her way of painting, it feels almost like watercolor, and the strokes look minimal but she achieves this haunting quality effortlessly or so it seems.

Which are the characteristics of eternal love ?

Eternal love ? Well, to be honest, I do not think I’ m a person that knows much about love. What I know is that once you love someone romantically or not it never goes away. If I have ever loved a friend or a romantic partner I still love them. Even if we do not talk, or we are complete strangers, I will always have love for them. The only eternal love I am sure of is my love for creating things. I am almost obsessive about making art and feel like I am just beginning this journey: the love I have for this lifestyle I can not compare to anything else.

You told me that you had a very crazy kind of life and you’ ve met very interesting, beautiful and strange people in Brooklyn. I would like to know something more about your life about the hardest moments and the people you loved the most.

In NYC I have lead a hedonistic and completely irresponsible life. I lived in entertaining environments to say the least. I loved to be surrounded by all different kinds of people. At one time I lived in a big loft with about 6-8 different people. It felt like in each room someone was creating something different, musically or artistically. We painted on the walls. We all drank too much and took other illicit substances. It felt like every time I lived in a new place I lived in a new kind of life. Sometimes I had art shows where I lived, sometimes just hangouts with friends, or small collaborations. For a time my friend and I published an art magazine. That was certainly a wonderful experience. The people I loved the most were unapologetically themselves. They were confident in their art and it was their first and only priority. I admired that quality most in my friends and was very inspired by it. The hardest moments in NYC were when I had to leave my wonderful creative world and go to any sort of odd job that I was working at the time. It was hard to not be working on art all the time.

Can you tell us something about the youth you portray ? What are the difficulties and the hopes of young people in your country ?

The people in my life are beautiful. I do not mean physically. What I am saying is everything about them, from their personality to their mannerisms, their sense of humor, and their imperfections. I see it all when I use someone in my work. I try and capture fleeting moments that portray hopelessness, beauty and love all with just a glance in their eyes. Some difficulties young people have today is their tendency to pick themselves apart. If i could say one thing to my peers I would scream and say: “stop looking in the mirror and destroying yourself!”. Hating the way you look is foolish. People need to embrace their selves and stop comparing their looks to these unrealistic ideals that society implements in every day life.

Are you on the theme of lost identities? What do you think gives birth to the problem of depersonalization ? What does this stem from ?

I deal a lot with identity loss in my work. I also incorporate alienation. Over the past couple of years I have found it very difficult to relate to most people. It’ s hard to find friends who understand what I really want in life. Being in New York is great because you can get lost anywhere and you can be anyone because you are surrounded by so many people that do not know your story. It relates to my work in a sense that you can feel invisible. When I deal with depersonalization I incorporate alienation at the same time. I sometimes think about people who all want the same thing, to look the same kind of way and to lead the same kind of life. That could definitely instill a sense of lost identity. I’ve always thought Kiki Smith did a great job portraying this. Her sculptures do give me that feeling.

Intervista di Emma Coccioli ad Alfie Ljuljdjuraj

Leggi anche le altre interviste di Emma Coccioli per Milano Arte Expo.

Sito web di riferimento:

MAE Milano Arte Expo 2015 – – ringrazia Emma Coccioli per l’intervista all’artista Alfie Ljuljdjuraj e per la selezione delle immagini.

Milano Arte Expo

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