Vera Kochubey – The Art Priestess

Artist Interview 

Vera Kochubey – The Art Priestess

Excited to present rising star Vera Kochubey, performance artist and painter. Learn about her art, her extraterrestrial L.A. experience and solo show in May.

Vera Kochubey’s art work is about to explode.

Vera Kochubey, photo: Dasha Yastrebova

Vera Kochubey’s art has our eye since one and a half year. The Russian performance artist, painter and fashion designer seemed to appear in Berlin a few years ago out of the nowhere. She quickly started to create her mark in several group shows and with commission works, before she dived into fashion for a few years. Since last year she picked up on her performance art and painting again and immediately struck gold.

She belongs to the beings who are different in just the right way. Different in terms of that it is the only way for them to exist.Vera Kochubey owns the rare ability to tab into let’s call it: rooms – which are enabling her to connect with some kind of unconscious mass which is all around us and which we sometimes feel we can touch briefly before it is gone again. Not for Vera. She is always absorbing and exploring those so-called rooms or spaces, pouring out their content in form of her often ritualized work.

No wonder felt her live painting session at the factory of Oliver Rath, like a group therapy session for it´s viewers…

Vera Kochubey, photo Raphael Mathes

Her performance was in fact a meditation on the process she experiences when painting. Her close friend the composer and DJ Peter Kirn delivered a truly extraordinary soundtrack for it. Vera Kochubey is always using herself as the ultimate tool to express what she wants to say or feel. Needless to say that we very much wanted to speak with her as we believe 2016 will be her year. And so does Oliver Rath, by the way.

Interview with Vera Kochubey

Vera, since I am following your work, I perceive you as a very extreme artist and also person. You seem to constantly push yourself to the limit, why is that? 

The truth is – I am a perfectly imbalanced and chaotic person, I am the opposite of calmness and nirvana. All my life I have a fire burning within me, that works as a permanent source of all my actions and my creativity, I am like a perpetum mobile, I cant sit on one place, I can not be ever satisfied. But at the same time, I am not blindly reaching to the stars or trying to fly up to the sun out of arrogance or whatever else – I am trying to reach places where I have not personally been before, especially metaphorically speaking, I like to challenge myself, and I see every project I do as an opportunity to test myself, my limits and possibilities.

I like to do what seems impossible, in my own individual sense. Everyone who knows me say that I am crazy, but following the words of Louise Bourgoise: Art – is a guarantee of Sanity.

Do you think this is one of the reasons why your performances made quite some impact from the very beginning?

I think what makes my performances and art works stand out is really that feeling, that I have given 101% of my abilities to create it. Every time, I am doing more then I actually thought I can. This is, of course a lot of stress and you may think this makes no sense, but this is exactly what being Vera Kochubey means.

The hardest part was to accept myself as I am and not apply any rational filter to it. I call it my own wisdom of life.

Vera Kochubey, photo: Raphael Mathes

When I look at your paintings, I can feel the urge to explore the meaning of life, the hunger for transformation and clarity. What do you put into your work when you sit down and paint? What is going on in your head and heart?

I started my art practice for only one reason: I did not understand the world I live in.  I have always felt as an alien.

So everything I do, aims to overcome that anxiety and explain to myself, what life actually is and how the hell this world actually functions. Apart from political and economical system of technocratic capitalism, I always believed, there is something MORE out there to be discovered – more then the world we can see, that’s why I consider myself a highly spiritual person, and I see the higher realms as much important as the earthy experiences. Spirituality is my philosophy. I have studied scientifically Human Psychology for more then 12 years. This has a big impact on the way how I analyze and proceed reality. As well as my religious studies have shaped a certain point of view on life for me. In my research before every project, I follow the European traditions of Psychoanalysis, Alchemy, Tarot, Cabbala, Christianity, Buddhism and Islam.

I believe, that knowledge is the only possible way to overcome the problems of the global ethics that we face at the moment. So to say, who are ready to be challenged and disturbed by what they see and start asking questions… I believe curiosity is the key to every transformation, every experiment, and in the core of it – a fundament of creativity.

Vera Kochubey, photo: Raphael Mathes

Do you think there is an universal stream of consciousness that let your art just flow out of your hands and heart if you learn to let go and just float? I mean in terms of „let art happen“?

Following american popular psychologist and life coach Abraham Hicks, I do believe in a vortex of creation. I do believe there is an eternal source or a flow of ideas that help us reach our goals, create art, make an impact. If we believe that happiness of each human being is the guarantee for world peace, if we accept every one as a star of his own world, more and more people will follow the path of self realization into a satisfying fulfilled life. More and more people will create positive frequencies and this can lead to global harmony that follows the cosmic order or the divine will of God / Creator/ Higher Consciousness …

In my art practice I have chosen a really large scale with only one purpose – to show that there is literally something higher then us, then our perception, then our point of view.

There is something above the human nature, something bigger, that creates through me. I am just a medium of these ideas, I translate them into a material world through my art. It is an old philosophical question, if the author is really an author , or merely a tool of God…

Tell me about your supernatural and extraterrestrial L.A. experience.

I have been invited to spend a month in Los Angeles for an artist residence, so without further thinking I just jumped on the first plane. I have always had a dream to go to Los Angeles and explore it in all possible ways. For me this trip ended up to be a three months spiritual journey filled with transformation, self knowledge and an intense artistic practice. The moment I landed in L.A., everything felt sort of paranormal, like on another planet or so.

In Los Angeles there is a very lucid reality, matter is being created out of thought in no time.

Vera Kochubey in L.A.

First, I lived in a bungalow in Echo Park together with one of the old Hollywood legends, a professor of drama in the biggest film school in LA, USC, Eric Trules, then I was living on the blown mattress in a room with no windows at a huge warehouse on Beverley Boulevard, whereI created some large scale paintings to be presented in Downtown in a place called „The Springs“. I also spent the whole month in the heart of Hollywood, where I was literally posessed by an illustration book I created. There are a lot of people who believe in magic and use it in everyday life, every one is very spiritual, and this approach to life changed me a lot. I think occult studies and mysticism can really empower a single person, and by power I mean not only a blunt power of getting what u want, but also wisdom and spiritual advancement. I dont like witches but I like wizards, and I dont see any harm if more people can accept this thinking for everyday life. In Los Angeles I also met a great contemporary painter Wyatt Mills, who made a huge impact not only on my style of painting but also on my way of thinking. He introduced me to Robert Anton Wilson, and I think it would be great if more people on our continent learn about him…

Vera Kochubey, photo: Raphael Mathes

What is next? Tell us about your plans, upcoming projects. 

My first solo show in Berlin is coming up on the 19th of May, where I will show a whole new body of large scale paintings at The Art Scouts Gallery.

I am also planning to publish my illustration book about creativity and I am working on a collaboration with a fashion brand.

If you would have a saying to describe yourself and your work, what would it be?

I love that quote by Carl Gustav Jung : One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.

Upcoming Exhibition: Vera Kochubey

Date: 19th of May, 2016
Gallery: The Art Scouts Gallery // Giesebrechtstr. 16,10629 Berlin  

photo credits: Raphael Mathes, Peter Kolski Digital Art, Dasha Yastrebova, NellOk Photography