Nothing in the field of art comes easily to Semyon Faibisovich – not even gaining possession of his own pictures from a gallery in Germany and bringing them back to Moscow, where he now lives.
The pictures, completed at least a decade ago and now on display in an exhibition at the Regina Gallery, represent an art form that is hard to pin down, combining as it does both painting and photography. Nevertheless, it unquestionably is one that affirms his mastery as an artist who subjects the ordinary and commonplace to what has been described as "a terminally intense, hypnotic look – the ability to keep staring when others would have turned their eyes away."
The scenes that make up the field of his vision are reassembled and reinterpreted into pictures depicting people outside stations, in buses and metros, on the streets and the beaches. Although they were formed in a period that is passing, their relevance is timeless, for while Faibisovich’s art is concerned to a significant degree with the actual, there is often a precisely indicated invitation to consider that what is apparently real, is almost certainly illusory. Or vice versa. He is not beyond playing a game with mirror images, using window reflections to remove his subjects from their previously perceived environment into one that occupies several spaces at one and the same time.
Faibisovich started out as an architect before becoming an unofficial painter. Since then he has been a photographer, an artist whose work evolved into video art and installations, an art critic and a writer. His personal eclecticism derives from an impatient independence that refuses to submit to any group or "art guru" laying down the canons of accepted styles and genres. At the exhibition preview, he said he intends to return to painting. What is holding him up, I asked. "An inner impulse," he replied. "I’m still waiting for that."
The exhibition runs until Jan. 19.
The Regina Gallery.
22 Tverskaya-Yamskaya Ul.
Hours: Noon to 8 p.m.