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Masha Yankovskaya

Untitled (oil on canvas)

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common sense gallery is proposing an intriguing gallery statement for this year s edition of PARALLEL – a solo presentation/exhibition of recent works by Masha Yankovskaya entitled The Body of my Soul, a new series of paintings that explores the body as a physical reflection of the soul. The exhibition will serve as an extension and companion piece to Yankovskaya s Tarot series, shown earlier this year in PARALLEL Editions.

In cultural discourse, it is customary to separate the soul and the body, to create boundaries between the subtle and the dense, the visible and the invisible. Yet there is a relationship between these two domains, a dialectic between the visible and the invisible; we know that emotions transform the body in both its physical form and the way it manifests itself in reality. But if the soul can influence the tangible world, then where might we find its boundaries? How can we represent the tracing of the soul necessary for self-realisation?

In answering these questions, The Body of my Soul pays close attention to composition, body language and the interactions between heroic and darkly sensual bodies. Boundaries are central here, to both theme and technique. In concert, these various elements convey the inner worlds of Yankovskaya s characters, reflections of the reality beneath the physical. A non-verbalised state of being that cannot be touched but leaves its imprint lingering.

common sense gallery s booth brings together a bespoke ensemble of Masha Yankovskaya s work that showcases the artist s oeuvre and invites audiences to reflect on the often taut relationship between body and soul. Central to our booth and setting the tone are two grand oil on canvas paintings, Insomnia and Body, which will be accompanied by smaller scale works, Sitting Man and Two Women, that further elaborate on themes of physiological vitality.


Known for her cool eroticism , Masha Yankovskaya is one of the most recognizable contemporary artists in the Russian-speaking world.

Born in 1988 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Yankovskaya graduated from the State Academy of Arts. Yankovskaya s path to art was one taken through the world of fashion, as she went on to study at the Stieglitz Art and Industry Academy at the faculty of Costume Design.
The artist lives and works in Tallinn, Estonia.

Critics have defined Yankovskaya s style as cool eroticism or new erotica . Working with a neorealist spirit, Yankovskaya depicts ideal images of people: sexual beings outlined in red against stark backgrounds outside of time and space, creating a mood that is both authentic and uncanny while charged with erotic frisson.

Masha Yankovskaya s path to creativity came from the desire to be free from other people’s opinions. Sketched graphics evolved to become oil painting on canvas and black strokes became red outlines and elements of chiaroscuro alongside “dry glazing” and gold leaf. While presenting a style that is utterly unique, Yankovskaya s classical training shines through in her composition and influences. The artist takes inspiration from icon painting, renaissance, magical realism, and pop art.

A defining element in all of Yankovskaya s oeuvre is the red outline. The dark contours add volume and contrast and the rich red highlights the figures in the picture while simultaneously emphasizing their skin tones. Color is central to Yankovskaya s work, and the reds, blacks, and whites which predominate highlight her commitment to sober reflection amidst carnal thrills.

Thematically, Yankovskaya s minimalist compositions boldly explore and interpret the relationship between men and women. The protagonists in Yankovskaya s paintings are women, and Yankovskaya admits that many are close to self-portraits.

Any artist paints himself to a greater or lesser extent. Even if there is no visual resemblance of the character to the artist, the mood and image are from the author. Since I am a woman, for me women are like a known object.
Year: 2023

Additional Information

Dimensions 70 × 100 cm

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