Success is one thing but fame is another. Beyond food, shelter, and sex, people have developed a dark desire to become a household name and live on after their deaths as immortal figures, important enough to be included in our civilization’s history books. This need to be known is especially potent in creative fields where a masterpiece is sometimes only as good as what someone is willing to pay for it. There is a reason artists are willing to starve and live out of cars to make it. It is the siren song of ultimate approval and it only gets louder the closer you are.
It’s natural that painter Vera Kochubey was so desperate for her pieces to be seen that she was ready to die for it when she found herself at the Mecca of the art world in Switzerland’s Art Basel. Even though she takes a step back from the ledge, she still decided to give her life for it. It will just be a longer life, filled with a lot of painting. In her voice, this is how it feels:
As Julius Caesar once put it, “I would rather be first in a small village in Gaul than second in command in Rome.” But, well, definitely not when it comes to Art Basel. With a monster brand like that, you’d be happy to be the last there, but present.
So, here I am, thanks to the VIP pass, standing on the balcony on the third floor of the Collectors’ Lounge. Two meters tall, self conscious woman artist with long raven black hair in a flaming red silk robe. I do stand out among the sea of navy blue Brionis and their elegant owners savouring fresh oysters and sipping Ruinart champagne. I do stand out here, but, in reality, I am just a piece of dust among all the Schnabels, Richters, Emins, and Kapoors presented at the show. I am nobody, just another unknown artist, another undiscovered genius craving recognition. And God only knows how I wanna be the new Picasso, new Basquiat, or new Rotko albeit the womb. For real…
I am asking myself, “Is there any universal way to get noticed? Any royal road to success?” Suddenly a thought comes to my twisted mind. WHAT IF…
What if I jump off this balcony right here, right now, creating an unforgettable splash, a wonderful and striking contemporary art installation including my blood, brains, bones, and skin? How fresh! How daring! I can see the headlines tomorrow, screaming my name, people taking selfies with my deconstructed body. Scandal! Scandal! Everybody is in shock; who is that Vera Kochubey? Suddenly, my name is on everyone’s lips! O fame, o glory! That would be the time of my life, my triumph, I think.
They will all come visit my exposition at the far end of the fair, the little, unnoticed before booth of Enter Art Foundation. It will be filled with collectors and dealers and journalists from all over the world! “My true will can move mountains” is sold for $100,000 the same day and the rest of my paintings are the most sought after art forever.
Amazing. All I need to do is to sacrifice my life right here. No thanks.
Instead, I turn around, and march inside. I have other plans. I am a strong woman. I am NOT going to give up. I will fight. I will find another way for them to see. I will find another way to STAND OUT!
Vera Kochubey left her successful journalist career in Moscow and moved to Berlin to establish herself as a visual Artist six years ago. First being noticed among the most promising painters at an art fair in 2014, her artistic journey took her to Amsterdam, Budapest, Paris, Los Angeles and, of course, Berlin, exhibiting her signature large scale paintings, featuring the cyber avant-garde portraits and visionary statements about liberation, feminism, the evolving mind, and human consciousness. During her Master in Psychoanalysis she developed her own concept of reality that is breaking the boundaries of what contemporary art should be and asserting the therapeutic priest-role of the artist.
The artist is represented by Magic Beans Gallery.