Fantastic realism of the artist Igor Rimashevskiy
In his pictures, certainly, there is recognizable reality. Capital artist Igor Rimashevskiy paints pictures about where he used to live, where he walks in the native city. And characters on these pictures are those people, with whom he used to met and is still meeting, whom he liked during one of these meetings. Igor paints scenes from city and country life, and this life is kind, allied and really looks like a fairytale every where
However, let us listen, how it is explained by the artist himself, talking about art, relation to it, about time where he lives and which remains in his pictures.
— And really, for how many years have you been professionally occupied with painting?
In 1975 I entered the Artistic College. After the College was Institute. Since then my main instrument is brush.
— Describe the genre, in which you work. What is the trend of your art?
— I did not chose the genre by myself. This is natural for the artist. You can not chose something if you do not feel from the inside. The matter is that already in the College I have met with national Belarusian painted carpets. The artists Markovets and Marochkin collected them in villages. I remember that I and my wife were asked to restore them. Probably, it has influenced my style. Monumental painting is also near to decorative art. The style I work in many people call “naive”, some people call it “primitive”. I do not characterize it anyway. An artist has got education, that is why you can not call his art primitive. A poet Kotliarov from Svetlogorsk stroke out a very good name — “fantastic realism”. I accept it.
— And what about “city popular print”?..
— The matter is that “popular print” is more referred to the Russian art. Why city print? On the whole I like urban landscapes. For example, Minsk with its ancient streets. Should I paint something contemporary? No, a building should settle, overgrown with history, with some kind of a spirit. That is why in Minsk I was more excited with the architecture of the Upper city, Trinity suburbs and also Stalin architecture. Recently I am also had been excited by the countryside landscapes. I do not want to hang up on one thing.
— And what is the subject essence in your pictures?
— The most important for me is the presence of humor. It is not interesting to paint just common subjects. I want some story to live in the picture. As, for example, in literature. Ironical glance on the world infuses optimism in a man. That is why, I think, it is important. Humor is everywhere. You have opened the window and there are workers on the construction site — sheer humor. There are not, possibly, such topics, which can not be noticed at this angle.
— It means that in prosiness you strive to notice the diversity of life?
— It seems to me that this is whereby the artist differs. In the prosiness he sees the flavor, inaccessible to a simple human glance.
— And do you paint from memory?
— Usually I have my note book with me. I can sketch something but it is not necessary that in the end you obtain the result of what you have painted. Like all artists, I draw on my imagination, paint something else, change. But as for the city landscape I try to push off from what I have seen.
— Among the characters in your works the animals are often met: a cat, a dog…
— The matter is that in our family there have always been animals. We used to buy dogs at the market or to pick them up on the street. The same with cats: one was brought by my daughter, one cat came into our house at the Christmas eve. Somebody has thrown them away, and this is a good model for an artist. And one constantly represents them on the pictures. If this is not the main character, surely be a man with a dog or a bird. I have some love to animals. And one thing: they, as characters, complete the city. The city is inconceivable without dogs and cats. They inhabit the city alongside with people. Many people just do not notice it, do not pay their attention.
— If we think about it, through what goes today Belarusian painting? Does it have its place?
It certainly has its place. Belarusian school has always been valued: both painting school and sculpture with graphics. Of course, art and economics are interconnected. I would like there would be more schools, galleries and buyers in Belarus. But I think that each artist will soon find his admirers.
— Does the time seal the art?
— Of course, the artist grows and builds up, he looks at things, which he earlier conceived naive, in a different way. My manner of painting is changing: earlier it was rougher and now it is softer. In a certain period appear some colors. And also appeared other plots: now there are different relations between people, and also automobiles and clothes… All this influence the artist and he tries to reflect this in his work.
— If one looks at your pictures, one could say that this is a style of the seventies.
— Possibly, it seems so because of architecture.
— And also people. For example, a man in hat. Such type is rarely to be seen.
— I paint what is near to me. Yes, man in hat is rarely to be seen nowadays, that is why I pay my attention to such people. When there are many identic people, I am not interested in it anymore. A non-standard person is the one who is likely to be singled out.
— How is Belarusian painting understood abroad?
— As an artist I would like to say that it differs both from Russian and European painting. Because of our mentality. National features are still traced: Belarusian painting is not so aggressive. Is our art interesting abroad? A man even from the far off country will always be interested in good art. But a good advertisement is necessary, it needs to be promoted somehow. We should make foreign exhibitions. I had them in Germany, Italy and Spain.
— Do you trace the direction of art and its development?
— Art is a live organism. Nowadays with appearance of computer technologies and other technical devices it became much wider. This is good. On the West the art is more formal. But this formality looks very organic in interiors. More often than not it is more interesting than some realistic art. That is why the painting should be different.
— Are exhibitions important for you?
— It is interesting to organize personal exhibitions: they give the possibility of looking at something you have achieved from the outside. Especially if you prepare for it seriously, for half a year, for a year. It is good when the exhibition is visited by many people, when it is being responded. The responds in a special book are interesting to the artist.
— How many exhibitions did you have?
— If I count, I think that nearly fifty. They were either republican, or international, or personal. But exhibition organization is not an end in itself. You should not shoot empty. If you have worthy works — you should exhibit them. I will not speak for the whole Belarus but in Minsk nowadays there is a problem with exhibition halls. The city is big, soon the population will amount to two million, and the halls lack.
— After all, artists are individualists in grain, are not they?
-— But, nevertheless, you manage to communicate with colleagues somehow?
-— We have many associations. Some of them join according to their interests, some — according to their styles, some — in order of economic convenience. It so happened that I am not involved in any association. I and my wife (Lyudmila Schemeliova — a member of the Belarusian Commonwealth of artists — author’s note) have our own association. But if we are invited at exhibitions, we do not refuse, we always participate. We communicate with the artists but not so close. On the whole, my friends are not artists. I have two or three artists which are close to me.
— If a husband and a wife are both artists, doesn’t it interfere with their art?
— Somebody says that coexistence of the two creative people is problematic. So to say, they always fight: who is more important and talented? We, vice versa, help each other. Especially, when we have to do monumental works. In fine, we cohabit in the creative sphere very good.
— Lyudmila’s painting is of another style.
— It seems to me that her works are softer.
— And how does the age influence the art? Possibly, the periods of weariness appear?
— You know, my father-in-law (people’s artist of Belarus Leonid Schemeliov — author’s note) is already 84. Nothing has changed. In the morning he came to the studio and worked four hours. He takes big canvases for his pictures. If it brings pleasure, there will be no weariness. With the increase of years the artist opens up more fully, as he has acquired experience. Communicating with people, traveling around the world — you accumulate the luggage.
— Did Leonid Schemeliov influence you?
— Acquaintance with him gave me some impetus. When I entered the college, I was like a child: I knew and saw very little. But conversations with Leonid Nikolaevich — in his studio gathered famous Belarusian artists, writers — discussion of art were very infatuating. We sat with a mouth open. Youth bars did not attract us. Nowadays there are surely artists, which gather in their studios and discuss art. But more aloofness appeared. Time dictates everything. And exhibitions are intended for our consolidation.
I listened the record with our conversation with Igor one more time. And I clearly caught the philosophy of artist’s views. Properly, it lay in the freedom of his statements. The artist Igor Rimashevskiy simply talks about his view on the world, on his perception of life, and how he reflects what he has felt in his pictures. All this composes a creative creed of Igor Rimashevskiy, which paints the fantastic realism.