El Hombre Confuso se viste de gala para recibir a Slava Mogutin, fotógrafo, escritor, modelo, pintor, poeta, en definitiva, arte en estado puro. Con él charlamos sobre su carrera, sus trabajos, sus nuevos proyectos y, como no, su paso por La Fresh Gallery. Con todos ustedes, Mr. Slava Mogutin
(versión traducida al español aquí).
HC: You have just exhibited your work at La Fresh Gallery, hosted by Miss Topacio. How has your Spanish adventure gone? Have you found many Lost Boys in Madrid?
SM: I had a wonderful time in Madrid and couldn’t be happier with my show at La Fresh. I’ve always loved Spain and it was nice to come back here with my work. Topacio is a great hostess, so I got to meet a lot of interesting and beautiful people. I also found a few sexy lost boys to photograph. Wish I could stay longer—10 days just wasn’t enough!
HC: You’ve taken your show Lost Boys to many cities. How does the audience react to your way of seeing eroticism? Does it change very much from one city to another?
SM: This particular show has already traveled to Poland and Luxembourg. The reaction is different in every country. I find Spanish audience particularly exciting and open. And I was surprised to find so many fans there—people who already knew my work from books, magazines or from the Internet.
HC: Russian of birth and New Yorker of adoption, how do you combine Lost Boys’ Soviet atmosphere with the scene underground of NYC Go-Go? Is sex the union of all?
SM: I’m interested in different subcultures and scenes. In Lost Boys I documented Russian military cadets, punks and hustlers, Crimean Rasta boys, German skinheads and football hooligans, Dutch skaters and NY bondage boys and sneaker pigs. It’s a book about youth, desire, loneliness, lust and love in many shapes and forms, different obsessions and fetishes… NYC Go-Go is a celebration of New York’s sex underground and a tribute to city that I’ve been calling my home for the past 15 years. Ultimately, what connects all my work together is a search for new sensibility and new ideals of beauty, different from traditional mainstream stereotypes.
HC: And how does Slava Mogutin live “the sex”? After spending all day photographing naked men, are you still wanting more?
SM: It would be an exaggeration to say that I only photograph naked men. In fact, my show at La Fresh wasn’t about sex, it was a selection of portraits taken during my recent trips back to Russia. If you look at my work, I hardly ever photograph fully naked men. In fact, I find clothes very sexy, especially uniforms and fetish gear. For the past 6 years I’ve been in a relationship and I’m quite happy and satisfied with my sex life, so I don’t need to fuck my models. Anyway, I think it’s far more exciting to take sexy pictures of someone than to fuck them.
HC: You filmed Skin Flick with Bruce LaBruce about ten years ago, what was the first thing that passed through your mind when he proposed you to do porn?
SM: I loved the idea of doing porn, especially with someone like Bruce, one of my favorite filmmakers. It helped me to satisfy my exhibitionism and get more comfortable with my own body. It was definitely a liberating and challenging experience, and something that no one would expect from a dissident Russian writer. I like doing unexpected, challenging things. I learned a lot from working with Bruce, but as I get older I’m much more comfortable being behind the camera, than in front of it.
HC: As a photographer and a model, how do you prepare a high voltage session of photos? How do you photograph an entire fetishistic universe?
SM: I’m not a studio photographer and I don’t like using professional models. I mostly photograph my friends or guys I meet when I travel. I don’t like directing people, I just suggest certain ideas and let them play in front of my camera. My best photos were taken spontaneously, like the picture of my friend Joey sniffing his boyfriend’s sweaty armpit, or a shot of my ex Anton with a cucumber up his ass, or German gay skinheads Andre and Tobias pissing and spitting on each other. The most erotic and exciting scenes are always improvised.
HC: Whom would you like to undress in front of your lens? Which are your myths?
SM: Prince Harry. He looks very good in sports gear. I would shave his redhead, get him really dirty and put him in bondage. I think he needs some discipline!
HC: Can you tell us a bit about your SUPERM project? Who is Brian Kenny?
SM: Brian and I have been living and working together for almost 6 years and we did shows in 8 countries, including a site-specific installation at MUSAC in Leon—one of our best shows ever. Brian is a multi-talented American artist and musician, and he’s very easy and fun to work with. Before we met I was primarily known as a writer and photographer. Thanks to him, I expanded my creative output. Our collaborative work includes videos, collages, paintings, sculptures, performances… There’s no limit to what we can do together, we realized that when we painted a giant, 6-meter-high mural at MUSAC in 3 days. Hopefully, soon we’ll be back in Spain with another show.
HC: Model, photographer, painter, writer, poet and journalist, is there any artistic discipline that you do not practice? What’s next?
SM: I’m not good at dancing, and that’s one of Brian’s talents that I’ve always admired. He can dance for hours. The night we met, he seduced me with his moves on a dance floor… I’m always interested in trying new things. For example, I recently learned how to do silk-screens, and that was very exciting. We live in the time of multimedia and multitasking and I want to realize myself in as many genres and mediums as possible. One day I’d like to direct a feature movie and work in theater. I also think it would be fun to do a show in space—on the Moon or, even better, Mars. I was born on the Soviet Cosmonaut’s Day and I’ve always been obsessed with the idea of travelling to space.
HC: Finally, what we’ll be able to find in Panoramic View, your new project?
SM: It’s a book of panoramic travel pictures from beautiful exotic locations like Morocco, Guatemala, Mexico and, of course, Russia. I think it’s my most poetic series, very different from the rest of my work. There are many striking landscapes, still-lifes, urban portraits, pictures of animals, and nudes. It’s a visual diary of my travels, a book about different environments and cultures and about universal human feelings, emotions and experiences that connect all of them.