16/24: Semyon Faibisovich - my WINDOWS
Semyon Faibisovich (1949) is an artist. In 1972 he graduated from the Moscow Institute of Architecture. Up to 1988 he combined work in design offices with his own career as an artist, firstly in graphic art, and later as a painter (from the late 70’s).
In 1976 he began exhibiting his work in an artists’ basement on Malaya Gruzinskaya Street, and in the autumn of 1985 it was taken up by New York dealers and collectors.
Since 1987 his pictures have been widely exhibited, firstly in the USA, and later in Western Europe and Russia. He has had 14 personal exhibitions, including at the Phyllis Kind Galleries (New York, Chicago), the First Gallery (Moscow), the Inge Becker Gallery in Cologne, and at Regina, Yakut Gallery, L Gallery, XL Gallery, Marat Gelman Gallery and the TV Gallery, (all in Moscow).
His works are to be found in museum collections in Germany, the US, Canada, Poland, Hungary, and Russia, and in famous private collections in the US, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy and Russia.
His main works include: Art series: "Local Bus" (1983-86), "Moscow Lenin Metropolitan Railway" (1984-1988), “Suburban Moscow Electric Train” (1985 - 1990) "At the Station" (1986-90), "On the Beach"(1987-1989), "Queuing for Vodka" (1987- 90), “Public Holiday “ (1987-90), “On Benches” (87-90), “Negatives” (89- 90); Art installations: "The Last Demonstration" (1992), "Obviousness" (1993), "Chronicle of Current Events" (1994), "With Spielberg" (1995); “Őîëîäîę áĺćčň çŕ âîđîň” (1997). In 1995 he gave up painting. At present he concentrates on installations, photography and video art. His projects include: “General Congratulations” (1997), “Our Poplar Wool” (1999), “Every Hunter Wants to Know” (2000), “The Living and the Dead” (2000), “Óçĺë ďîä ńîńíŕěč. Äâîéíîé ńĺŕíń” (2001). In the late 80’s he began writing. He has published stories and articles in the magazines Ogonyok (1989), Oktyabr (1996), Znamya (1997, 1999), Zolotoi Vek (1997), Literaturnoye Obozreniye (1997), Noviy Mir (1998), Solnechnoye Spleteniye (Israel, 1999, 2001) among others. He was awarded the Znamya Literary Prize for 1997. In 1993 he began working as a journalist and essayist. His work has been widely published in newspapers such as Segodnya, Obshchaya Gazeta, Moskovskiye Novosti, Inostranets, Vesti. Ru, among others, and in various magazines, including Inostrannaya Literatura, Iskusstvo Kino, Znamya, Noviy Mir, Itogi, Ogonyok, KhZh, Dekorativnoye Iskusstvo, Pushkin, Neprikosovenniy Zapas. In 1999 a collection of his articles entitled ‘Russians Old and New’ was published by NLO. He was short-listed for the Andrei Beliy Prize in 2000.
Faibisovich lives and works in Moscow.
“Windows are not simply openings in walls covered over by glass to illuminate and ventilate their rooms – they are also a mythical and poetical symbol. They divide up the world into external and internal, visible and invisible, one’s own and others’. During the day light shines in, and at night it shines out. Windows are a house’s eyes (cf. Russian oko and Latin oculus). The view offered by a window is part of a property’s real estate value, and what can be seen from a window has been a widespread theme in the fine arts since the Renaissance - ‘a picture within a picture’. Matisse and Chagal, Magritte and Duchamps, Hitchcock and Warhol, and many others have drawn and photographed the view from windows. Faibisovich photographs windows. He is not the first photographer to do so. But his windows are his own, and not those of others, which in art is most important. Even so, his windows are also ours, with the glass dirty and blurred, and the everyday views of our unimpressive towns and our dreary interiors. A cat, flowers in plant pots, empty crockery on a windowsill, a fridge, a television, a thermometer, door bolts, ventilation windows, the house opposite… It’s almost as if we don’t see them any more, but we remember them very well. “Faibisovich’s eyes are our windows, and at the same time, cataracts”. (Yuri Avvakumov)