- Without using faces or expressions, you make your viewers feel very different things, like emptiness, loneliness, excitement, fear, mystery and more... Why and how did you decide to shoot subjects such as garages, lobbies and factories? What is the main idea behind your style?
I was always attracted by those kind of things, ever since I was a child, I just loved sceneries that were unattractive to most people. For me they simply represented the true heart of the places I visited. For instance, if you live in Paris, you'll obviously get to see the Eiffel tower, but you'll most likely be seeing an underground garage or industrial neighborhood much more often... And that's basically the idea. Of course, every series has it's own personal concept and very different approach, but in the end all my work is connected as a complex study of our environment. I guess the fact that I grew up and lived in many industrial cities throughout my life has something to do with my obsession for "ugly" things.
- Academies are the places where you learn something that you'll never forget. Every art student remember some specific statements from university years. As a young photographer, studied in two schools, Private Academy of Fine Arts in Slovakia and Institute of Digital Photography in Czech Republic, do you have that kind of 'key points' that you'll never forget in your professional career?
Honestly, I am not a big fan of statements because I am more of a "let the imagery do the talking" person. The visual side of things was always the one that interested me in the first place and from all the visual styles we've learned about, minimalism was I think the one that influenced me the most. In fact, the whole 'less is more' philosophy just grew on me over the years.
- You were born in Slovakia, spent most of your childhood in Belgium, studied in Czech Republic and now, you live and work in that country. You exhibited your works in both solo and group shows in all around Europe and United States. As a person who traveled a lot for many years, how do you evaluate the future of the visual arts in the world? In your point of view, what kind of art environment will the people experience in 2050?
I suppose that there will be less material used in general. Perhaps there will come a day when paintings won't be on canvases anymore and sculptures will just be some holographic 3D models. The form will change over time, that's for sure. We've just recently entered the digitalization era and I believe it is a serious milestone for human kind as we will eventually let go of all material forms in the future. It is hard to tell how will art look like in 40 years, because even if it isn't such a long period I cannot predict the situation of the world at that very moment. Anyway, no matter the form nor the looks, art will always be present as a reflection for our society.
- In some of your works, especially the Landings series, you create a unique atmosphere that doesn't seem like it's belonged to this world. If you had limitless budget, in which place and in what way would you prefer presenting your images to your viewers?
That mainly depends on the series that I would be showing, but I can imagine an exhibition at the top of building in a city like NY or Tokyo at night, with the pictures projected in enormous sizes, all literally floating in the air a step further from the edge of the roof. There would be no need for lightning because the images would be bright enough and therefore their presence would strengthen the atmosphere of the works. And it would also look pretty cool from the streets ;)
- Artists who involve in contemporary photography are usually trying to create new things in video field. Are you planning to make a short movie or a video project?
I am interested in many other mediums besides photography. I draw, I paint, I make music and lately I found myself doing sketches with ideas for sculptures and installations, but to be honest video art never really appealed to me. I don't know if I didn't get the chance to see the right pieces but to a very few exceptions (mostly parts of more complex installations), I always found them to be a bit dull. On the other hand, I was always attracted by cinematography, I even did a short film back in the days. I definitely plan on coming back to it some day, but I don't want to underestimate the necessary skill and experience to bring something truly original.
- Imagine that there is a country named 'Branislav Kropilak'. What would it look like, what kind of flag would it have?
It would be a huge sunny island with lots of sandy beaches, snowy mountains, thick forests, etc. The national sports would be all kinds of "creative" freestyle sports like snowboarding, skiing, surfing, etc. There would be people from all over the world and we would cherish the best from all cultures. The most money would be invested in astronomy and research and the flag would be white from one side and black from the other.
- What kind of movies do you like and which film directors do you find closer to yourself in terms of visual comprehension?
I could spend hours writing down what I like about this and that director and why is this or that movie so special. So I'll just give you my 10 favorite directors and that should tell you plenty about the visual character I like: Christopher Nolan, Jim Jarmush, Joel & Ethan Coen, Martin Scorcese, Milos Forman, Richard Linklater, Spike Jonze, Terry Gilliam, Vincent Gallo, Woody Allen.
- One of our previous guest artists, talented photographer Nicholas Routzen says; "Regardless of all the disasters and problems that may be going on in the world, there are always moments of happiness found in those dark areas." Do you agree with Mr. Routzen's optimistic thoughts or are you thinking the opposite? From what kind of perspective are you evaluating the future of our world?
Yes I agree, because there is always a positive in the negative and a negative in the positive. Anyway, I am also an optimist and I do believe in a bright future, but at the same time I realize that it won't be without any costs.
- Theme of our current issue is '2'. What does this number mean to you? What comes to your mind when you think about 'two'?
'Two' reminds me of the Chinese Yin Yang philosophy. That everything has two sides, one "positive" and one "negative" and that they simply wouldn't work one without the other.