Focus on the painter Danja Akulin


Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a Berlin-based artist, born in St. Petersburg, Russia. I finished both, my bachelor and master studies in Fine Arts, at the UdK (University for Arts in Berlin). I studied under Georg Baselitz and Daniel Richter. I’ve been exhibiting since 2002 all over Europe, in the USA, and in Russia.


Why do you make art?

I am always trying to summarize, make sense in the larger context of my life what it is exactly that I am doing. And every time I realize, that art is not just my work, but my living and my being. I can’t exist without making art. It’s my talent and my calling. It’s basically a destiny.



untitled, 2017, charcoal, 140×210 cm


When working on a new project, what are the first steps you do?

I look for inspiration. Which is, practically, an every day activity. Photography, nature, human conversations all cause a discovery from which I draw my next idea for a new painting.


What do you enjoy most about your work?

That time stops. Or stretches. Or doesn’t exist. I literally conquer time while I paint.


Has your approach and process changed throughout your artistic career?

I changed tools. I used to draw with pencil. I also didn’t stretch my works, so they looked like simple drawings. Like all drawings at the museums or exhibitions, they had to be glassed. I didn’t like that they were getting covered – you could no longer detect the textures and play with the light, as an observer. I now draw with charcoal and graphite on paper and lay it down on canvas. This was a time-consuming and error-fixing technique-mastering process of many years, before I could reach a perfect symbiosis of a stretched paper and the canvas frame. But because of this technique, I’m unique and my drawings can be easily hung and enjoyed in their full artistic quality.



untitled, 2016, charcoal, 61×85 cm


You want to preserve moods and emotions in your works – how do you do this? And do you have specific motifs in your works?

I used to draw still objects. Anything related to light and shadows has occupied my imagination. Now I predominantly draw nature. I want to solve for “Penumbra” – the half-light, half-darkness harmony. In between the shadow and the light there is a zone through which we may see what is in the penumbra, but we see it with this darkened hue, and it is problematic to say weather it is illuminated or not. In my “Penumbra” series, which I’ve been working on for several years now, the light is radiated on to what is but a partially illuminated landscape. Through this light, emotions and thoughts within the duality of darkness and brightness are visually translated. The truth exists in the “in-between” area, the penumbra.


What have been the highlights of your artistic career so far?

Having my first solo exhibition in 2008 in the United States, getting to know fellow American artists and culture, the New York artists community, and finding loyal and very special clients for my artworks there. This was my first trip outside of Europe, so I was tremendously excited and moved.



untitled, 2016, charcoal, 63×81 cm


The artist’s website:

Danja Akulin on Singulart:

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