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 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 Rouger (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 with Parafin will take place in 2019.