Flora Yukhnovich’s recent paintings use the language of the Rococo to examine notions of femininity, exploring its aesthetic expressions throughout art history and finding connections within contemporary popular culture.
Yukhnovich manipulates colour and form to explore the representation of the female form and the male gaze as well as the associations of the superficial, decorative and domestic present in the Rococo. As Yukhnovich states: “I see a discrepancy between the aesthetic qualities we perceive to be feminine i.e. the beautiful, the submissive, the delicate, and my own experience of what it is to be a woman today”.
The paintings exist in a powerful state of flux as figuration gives way to abstraction and sensation, engaging with the visceral and the sublime through sensual and gestural mark-making. Harnessing the dynamism and eroticism inherent in the Rococo, Yukhnovich seeks to create active images which do not submit to the gaze but have the capacity to affect the viewer – paintings which are indicative of the legacy of the feminine but express the true agency and power of womanhood.
In Prendre son Pied (2017) Yukhnovich appropriates Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s The Swing (c.1767), abstracting and expanding its composition into a Rorschach-like triptych, its symmetry imbuing the whole with an underlying psychological tension. Fragonard’s playful but highly sexualised painting, often seen as representing the height of frivolity within the Rococo, is subverted and transformed into something more critical, the title alluding to a deeper physical experience. Likewise, in Tu vas me Faire Rougir (2017), Yukhnovich takes cues from Fragonard’s painting to create a highly charged vision, at its heart a pulsing tangle of painterly marks fluctuating between fleshy pinks and blushing reds.
Flora Yukhnovich (born 1990, UK) graduated from the City and Guilds of London Art School in 2017. Her first solo exhibition at Parafin, ‘Sweet Spot’, opened in February 2019. Recent group exhibitions include ‘María Berrío, Caroline Walker, Flora Yukhnovich’ at Victoria Miro Gallery, London (2019), ‘Telescope’, curated by Nigel Cooke, at Jerwood Gallery, Hastings (2019), and ‘Dialogues: New Paintings from London’ at GASK – the Gallery of the Central Bohemian Region (2018). Yukhnovich’s work is included in the Government Art Collection, UK, and the David Roberts Art Collection.
8 February – 30 March 2019
Flora Yukhnovich, If All the World Were Jell-O, 2019. Oil on linen. 180 × 250 cm.
Flora Yukhnovich, Out of the Strong Came Forth Sweetness, 2019. Oil on linen. 258.5 × 170 cm.
Flora Yukhnovich, Dolly Mix, 2019. Oil on paper. 210 × 180 cm.
Flora Yukhnovich, Thank Heaven for Little Girls, 2019. Oil on linen. 220 × 190 cm.
Flora Yukhnovich, Imagination, Life is Your Creation, 2019. Oil on linen. 210 × 180 cm.
Flora Yukhnovich, In the Pink, 2019. Oil on linen. 220 × 190 cm.
Flora Yukhnovich, A Glass and a Half, 2019. Oil on linen. 160 × 260 cm.
Flora Yukhnovich, Pretty Little Thing, 2019. Oil on linen. 220 × 190 cm.
Flora Yukhnovich, What Colour is the Sky in Your World?, 2019. Oil on linen. 150 × 140 cm.
Flora Yukhnovich, Sweet Spot, 2019. Oil on linen. 160 × 150 cm.
Flora Yukhnovich, Both Sides Now, 2019. Oil on linen. 160 × 150 cm.
Flora Yukhnovich, Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner, 2018. Oil on linen. 270 × 170 cm.
Flora Yukhnovich, It's Better Down Where It's Wetter, 2018. Oil on linen. 230 × 230 cm.
Flora Yukhnovich, Boucher's Flesh, 2017. Oil on linen. 215 × 180 cm.
Flora Yukhnovich, Prendre son Pied, 2017. Oil on linen. 280 × 410 cm.
Flora Yukhnovich, Jouissance, 2017. Oil on linen. 215 × 180 cm.
Flora Yukhnovich, Tu vas me Faire Rougir, 2017. Oil on linen. 215 × 180 cm.
Flora Yukhnovich, Le Rire de la Méduse, 2017. Oil on linen. 210 × 180 cm.
Flora Yukhnovich, Study, 2019. Oil on paper. 21 × 14.7 cm.
Flora Yukhnovich, Study, 2019. Oil on paper. 20.5 × 16.5 cm.
© Parafin Ltd. 2016