Aida Ruilova's (Un)safe Art
Each glass piece seemed to tremble— fragile, transluscent forms, almost floating on the white walls. Addressing topics of tension in her art, as always, Aida is adaptive, an architect, inviting agressive ideas in a sensitive space.
"Pussy", "Dick", "War", words with weight. The pipes have been packed up, but in all of Aida's art, there is a sentiment that sticks.
Ruilova provides, in her own provocative ways, just what the world wants. So simple: a safe space. Aida spoke with us on this past project and her process.
How did this show come about?
They asked for me to do and show and I said “okay great”. What I usually do, is that I don't know what I’m usually gonna do. I initially wanted to do a life size figure that you could smoke, and it would sit in the middle of the room and fill up with smoke when people were smoking. That was completely unaffordable— and didn’t make sense for the space, but it was good because that’s where the process began. Sometimes limitation in space is good because it helps you do something you wouldn’t have done.
What’s with the relationship with smoke?
Like a body, these [pipes] are vessels in a way. I made them clear, to be conscious of when you use them, you can see what’s going through them. This idea of using these to escape because you don't want to be present. Or because you need to be somewhere else in terms of a psychological space.
Is there some implication that the smoke is toxic?
No. It's just about being a body. Things go through, escaping, being outside of your head.
Was inspired by anything else? Why each word, was there a reference to something?
Thinking about the power of language... Words like fuck or dick are very ‘aggressive’ words. But when you put them in glass, it just softens the heaviness of the word. What language does, it's not just the word, it's visual. Before we put these up, we just printed the words in black and put them on the wall— and it was way too much. But then when we started to put the glass up, it was so much better, it softened them.
This writing for the artist statement, by your friend Alissa Bennett, is that fictional?
I’m not sure.
...She brings it into this very adolescent space, we can all remember when we were 16 and smoking pot and this creepy guy was near us. And there’s this moment where something terrible could have happened but you get away, nothing happens. These works have that moment of tension it's just something subliminal— because they’re so fragile looking.
Which is the first one that you did?
Have you smoked out of any of them?
I’ve shot people smoking out if them, but I don't smoke pot. In high school, I did, but I have a baby, and I just don't like it anymore. You can smoke anything out of them though.
Have people bought them?
I think “creep” already sold actually.
Is there a ritual that you have when you’re not working on something maybe to come up with ideas?
I like to walk on the street a lot. I feel like when I have an aberration that’s when things come into my head. If I actually sit down to try, I just can't.
Do you listen to music while you’re working?
I really love Hip Hop. Nicki Minaj, and lately, I’ve been listening to old Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Stuff from way back.