Interview with Yuri Kabisher, Painter


Interviewer: Vassiliki V. Pappa

Yuri Kabisher was born in Vitebsk, Belarus. From 1987 to 1993 he studied at the hight school attached to I. Repin St.Petersburg State Academy Institute of Painting. From 1997 to 2002 he studied stage design at Tel Aviv University. Next, he got his MFA degree. Since then he has illustrated various books and worked as a stage designer at different theaters. Now he focuses mostly on painting.

Vassiliki V. Pappa: What did you want to be "when you grew up"? If you hadn't followed the path of painting where do you think you'd be now?

Yuri Kabisher: If not an artist, I'd like to be a musician. I was born in artist family. The first non-abstract painting I painted, when I was 1.5 years old, was a balloon.

Vassiliki V. Pappa: What does painting mean to you and what influences have affected your inspiration?

Yuri Kabisher: When one is involved in a creative process he doesn't consider it in terms of progress. It's looks more like travelling to unknown lands, of course when you look from outside at an artist's work you can see a gradual development of a technique or a style, but this happens only in the case when he is honest in his work and fortunate enough to see his own mistakes and stagnations. The comments from the environment can be constructive or destructive, but an artist that works based on the nice comments is only serving his honor.  His work can look nice and sweet but it lacks life and is boring for an experienced eye. Nature has the main influence on my work and also the works of talented masters. But the handmade, however talented and profound, can never compete with nature. When you are sensitive, nature takes you to an endless joyful trip. It can teach you the most complex techniques of the profession because its own "profession" is creativity. When we don't consider ourselves with a sense of self- importance - we are just its particles, and it is a bliss.

Vassiliki V. Pappa: How do you feel when your projects take some people away?

Yuri Kabisher: I enjoy sharing my work with someone, and it is never taken away in the deep sense. The art is not a thing - not a painting or a sculpture - it is a perception and a process. When you want you can simply step into its stream. Once the painting is done - it will always remain with you in a deep sense.

Vassiliki V. Pappa: Who is your favorite foreign painter ?

Yuri Kabisher: From the modern artists - Wolfgang Harms, Jacek Yerka, Nicholas Hutchison. I never care about being distinguished as an independent aim. Good promotion is necessary, unfortunately I can't say that I master it.

Vassiliki V. Pappa: How easy is it for a painter to be distinguished today? It is a matter of talent or more of a good promotion?

Yuri Kabisher: I have never cared about being distinguished as an independent aim. Good promotion is necessary, unfortunately I can't say that I master it.

Vassiliki V. Pappa: Has there been a critical moment that changed your life? What are the moments that marked you emotionally?

Yuri Kabisher: It was the LSD experience. It helped me to discover that there is not only one limited perception that holds us in mechanical patterns all our life. Then gradually it became more possible to work on consciousness not only under the effects of psychedelics, but also in different life situations. Existence is much wider than we are accustomed to think.

Vassiliki V. Pappa: Where do you find happiness in everyday life? Do you feel that you have actually found it? And if yes, how difficult is it to finally discover it?

Yuri Kabisher: Happiness is a bit distorting term. I think that this term is covering our desire for a timeless pleasure. You never feel yourself unhappy when you don't strive to be happy. Also when we are longing for happiness we lose sensitivity to what is - we become less attentive, make mistakes and suffer.

Translated in English by Ioanna Asteriadou