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14.12.2018 -03.01.2019 Personal exhibition in New York. Artist Vladislava Iakovenko



One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

Although we have already lived 18 years in the 21 century, but the idea of “female” is still often represented in the context of juxtaposing male/female. Gender is perceived as a social construct based on a bunch of certain qualities. And your identity is evaluated according with the relevance to those qualities. There is even a slightly disregarding term – female art, which is usually associated with something unserious, lacking of depth and universality. The light form of art, so to say. That is why it’s important to keep on putting the ‘female’ issue in art in the limelight, discussing it from different perspectives.

Such thoughts inspired the Ukrainian artist Vladislava Yakovenko to start this project – “Female Faces of Big Cities.” The exhibition is dedicated to the variety of ways the feminine manifests itself in contemporary world, the challenges She faces, as well as numerous forms She takes.

Femininity is commonly associated with vulnerability, but the artist aspires to show the powerful creative potential of women, representing them as sources of the cultural impulse that has been changing the history of humankind throughout all the epochs. The paintings contain the reference to the traditions of the early 20th century Avant-garde (Expressionism, Cubism). Avant-garde itself was one of the most ‘female’ periods in art history – it’s enough to mention the names of Sonia Delaunay, Nataliya Goncharova or Frida Kahlo. That’s why its visual language, combined with the elements of both realism and decorativeness, resonates most with the theme of the project.

It’s important to note that Vladislava doesn’t place the feminist context into the core of the show – it’s present as the background, not as a catchy message, but as a vantage point in perception. Her canvases feature not a stereotypical archetype of ‘femininity’, but actual women – poetical, lyrical, strong, weak, independent, brave, insecure. Different but intergral, and changing the world with that integrity.

Oleksandra Osadcha, art critic

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