Yuri Vassiliev

Born 1950 Kingysepp, RUS, lives in Kaliningrad, RUS

Yuri Vassiliev counts among the most important Russian video artists of our times. He confronts the avante garde concepts of Kasimir Malewitsch with his post modern, existential view of Being and artistic practice. Vassiliev predominantly uses single videos or photographs or employs them in spatial installations.  His motifs are the winter and people in the landscape, who he brings together with Malewitsch's basic elements, the black square and the cross and the pure, powerful avante garde colour of red. Thanks to sophisticated compositions Yuri Vassiliev shows that realistic representation and suprematist non-objectivity are not mutually exclusive and that they even interlock. The ideas of innovation, Utopia, setting forth, independance and resistance are all examined in his artworks, drawing on basic human experiences. Especially in winter in the barren Russian wastelands, these ideas are rubbed up against bitter, harsh, existential struggles. A human life, just the same as the avante garde's claims to innovational and absolute validity, is confronted with the violence of the natural forces, and gets caught up like the fly in a spider's web.

In the course of examing Malewitsch's idea that pictorial worlds reflect the „pure sensibilities“ of the artist, Yuri Vassiliev demonstrates that he is a skilfull artist-philosopher who uses the possibilities which are immanent to video and photography for the purpose of reflection. It also becomes clear that he is an artist who is not only intimately bound to the culture, but also to the experiential worlds of his mother country.  

Andrea Domesle
English translation Christopher Haley Simpson

The author of "Russian Red" Yuri Vassiliev is a middle-aged, robust, bearded, Russian man, with slightly wild-looking light eyes. As the fates willed it, he lives in Kaliningrad-Koenigsberg in former East Prussia, and works in the sphere of "contemporary art", where he has become a widely known phenomenon of international scope.
Initially Vassiliev is a painter, graphic artist and designer. Having gone through profound phases of abstract art, painting and experiments with various materials, he now works with digital and video camera, simultaneously developing conceptual projects. The largest of them is "Russian Red", an unfinished one yet, still transforming in time and space. The "Russian Red" idea, which was first outlined in 2001, continues to acquire new unknown facets with every subsequent stage of the artist's exhibiting activities.

Ivan Chechot, 2013