Experiential Composition

Anastasia Schipanova represents a new generation of emerging Russian contemporary artists, a mix of expressionism, symbolism and abstraction in a vessel of so-called energo-abstractionism.

A: Could you describe your method in terms of combining influences? How do you find balance between these whilst creating something that you feel is your own?
I love abstraction because it’s closer to my personality and does not restrict my imagination. It allows me to emulate my feelings as well as echo the atmosphere and the energy of a place that inspired the painting. It’s an unseen, delicate matter far beyond the realms of reality; there are no defined shapes. Expressionism helps me bring my personal feelings to life. Occasionally I use subjects that are easier to understand. My paintings reflect the inner meaning, not the real form. When working on a new canvas, I never do sketches. My process has a lot more flow and is extremely impulsive. Whatever the painting turns out to be is what it it’s going to be like. This is only way I can truly say that it’s a piece of me.

A: Do you think that a revival in painting as a contemporary practice is important, and do you think that your practice feeds into this thought?
I don’t think that painting is in need of revival, it has never fallen. Painting is a fundamental part of art. Of course, nowadays a lot of mixed-media unusual movements are being developed, but painting is a unique form. All you need is a blank canvas, paint, brushes and a desire to create. It’s a lot more accessible, so anyone can give painting a try. The important thing is for classical painting to evolve alongside the modern times which will allow it to show its full potential and step outside of the landscape-portrait-still life box. I enjoy creating artworks dedicated to the energy that a specific place radiates, to the outbursts of emotions. Painting can affect your inner well-being. You can use it for relaxation, restoring energy and filling yourself with positivity. I believe that this alone can bring a huge value to the modern society and believe that this is art’s main purpose.

A: Is it important to think about time when creating a piece of work, especially when considering the acceleration of contemporary society?
Extremely important. It’s a unique topic that contains the philosophy of our lives and perception of the world. I once caught myself thinking about capturing a moment on a static canvas; capturing the briskness, the infinite shift of the image and the distortion of the composition. Speed is relative. It can be viewed from completely different angles, which is exactly what I’m trying to convey.

In recent years, the rhythm of life has become a lot faster. Everything changes so rapidly and it’s impossible to get used to something new because soon enough it will no longer be valid. In my studio, I try to detach myself from the external environment and not think about the time, the bustle, or any other errands. It’s where time stops. Speed is born on the canvas with each new stroke of my brush. It might take a few hours until I decide that the painting is finished, or it might take a week.

A: How do you incorporate a sense of colour theory into the pieces?
Paints and colours are my passion; I love working with them. My palette is very varied, it changes based on my inspiration and the image I see in my mind. If you look at my paintings you will notice that I have worked in gentle pastels in some of them, whereas others are full of deep, rich tones. The choices help transport the meaning and the energy of my work by causing certain emotions. When I studied psychology, I was intrigued by the ability to impact the viewer through colour. What is the first thing you think of when you see an abstract painting in red? Aggression or passion? It’s very personal but if you choose the combinations wisely and dilute them with other tones, you can capture an unimaginable spectrum of the viewer’s thoughts.

A: What has been your best achievement to date, in your opinion?
: I’m realistic when it comes to evaluating my progress and believe that my main achievements are still ahead. At the current stage of my artistic career, I would say the biggest achievement was my first solo exhibition, Echo of the Universe, in the Boccara Gallery, Moscow. The exhibition included over 30 paintings that were created over the stretch of seven years. It included some of my earlier works, too. I really enjoyed the experience as it allowed me to see the true reaction to my paintings from the viewers’ side, as well as talk to industry professionals. The opinions of those around you always push you to develop your skills further.

A: What exhibitions have you got coming up this year?
This year is full of different events. In May I am taking a few of my pieces to a group exhibition and an art fair in Tokyo which will be my first step into the international arena. I am also being invited to showcase my art in Paris and Monaco. For the last few months I have been working on a new project in my studio which will be premiered this Autumn in Moscow. You can also see a few of my paintings being displayed as part of group exhibition in London.

A: What do you have planned in terms of future projects / working in other media?
: I am curious to try working with shapes more hands-on, so I want to venture into sculpting and perhaps volumetric paintings as well. Playing with textures, shapes and materials is a completely different approach to art. My current paintings are going to be used for a series of installations as part of my next solo exhibition. I am also familiar with the fashion industry so I’m sure you will see a collaboration with a fashion brand sometime in the future, too.

For more information: www.schipanova.com

1. Anastasia Schipanova, Orange Snowstorm (2015). Courtesy of the artist.