Victoria Miro is delighted to announce the representation of Flora Yukhnovich. The London-based painter, whose work was first shown at the gallery in a group exhibition in 2019 and has held two subsequent solo exhibitions inspired by a residency with the gallery in Venice, will have a solo show in London in 2022.
Flora Yukhnovich is acclaimed for paintings in which she adopts the language of Rococo, reimagining the dynamism of works by eighteenth-century artists such as Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, François Boucher, Nicolas Lancret and Jean-Antoine Watteau through a filter of contemporary cultural references including film, food and consumerism.
Variation is a driving force in Yukhnovich’s work with her mark making ranging from delicate flourishes to dramatic and gestural brushstrokes, heightening the rhythmic sensuality that plays throughout her ambitious compositions. Existing in a constantly fluctuating state between abstraction and figuration, Yukhnovich’s paintings explore ideas surrounding dualities and multiplicities, transcending painterly traditions while fusing high art with popular culture, and intellect with intuition.
Yukhnovich has long been entranced by the idea of the fête galante – a type of painting depicting the wealthy at amorous play in parkland settings that came to prominence with Watteau. When viewed from afar, her works might be seen to be figurative, their suggestive brushwork carrying echoes of elaborate eighteenth-century scenes. Yet when approached more closely, the precisely arranged structure gives way to pure texture and colour.
The artist has described her process as ‘searching for a language which sits between figuration and abstraction. I like the idea ofcombining these two art historical moments which have becomehighly gendered: the pretty Rococo imagery and the machismoof abstraction. But really abstraction and figuration don’t feelseparate to me. They are two different points in the same process,part of a spectrum which ranges from very loose, abstractedmarks through to tightly articulated figuration. I do want theresulting paintings to remain open and ambiguous despite theirfiguration. The viewer has to fill in the looser areas in their mindand I hope that leads to a multiplicity of different readings.’
Over the past two years a shift in emphasis from predominantly French to Italian influences has, for the artist, resulted in a number of developments and breakthroughs. Yukhnovich was one of the first artists to undertake a residency with the gallery in Venice and, during a two-month stay in 2019, used the opportunity to engage more fully with Venetian culture, studying first hand works by Tiepolo including ceiling frescoes in the Ca’ Rezzonico museum and the Chiesa Santa Maria della Visitazione. Tiepolo’s ceiling paintings, in particular, encouraged a more heavenwards focus, bringing with it a change in palette towards celestial blues and pinks and compositions that defy a gravitational pull. Brush marks, freed from describing flesh, become looser, lighter, functioning as directional cues to the viewer.
Victoria Miro said, ‘Flora is one of the most exciting painters of her generation. Her dynamic approach results in work that references art history while being fresh and relevant today. Her 2019 residency with the gallery in Venice studying painters such as Giovanni Battista Tiepolo produced an exceptional body of work which we exhibited last year. I am very much looking forward to working together.’
Photo: Andree Martis