Vladimir Yankilevsky (Russian, 1938-2018) Bottles

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Lot 3
Vladimir Yankilevsky
(Russian, 1938-2018)
Bottles

Sold for £ 13,710 (US$ 17,835) inc. premium
Vladimir Yankilevsky (Russian, 1938-2018)
Bottles
signed with initials 'V.Ya' and dated '60' (lower right)
oil on card
48.5 x 59cm (19 1/8 x 23 1/4in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Acquired directly from the artist by a private European collector
    Thence by descent

    Literature
    V. Yankilevsky, Monographic albums. 1954 – 1980, Moscow, 2018, illustrated reproduction p. 43


    A fusion of abstraction and surrealism, Yankilevsky's diverse body of work includes a variety of subjects and media, from early abstract paintings, to figurative etchings and large-scale installations and assemblages. In each of them, Yankilevsky acts as a thoughtful explorer of the complexity of the universe, the role of a human being in it, and the ways of expression of these concepts in an art form.

    The present lot belongs to the early series of still lives titled Bottles which marked the transition from Yankilevsky's early figurative period towards the body of abstract works from the 1960s culminating with the celebrated cycles Landscape of forces and Theme and Improvisation. A reproduction of the present still life was included in the five works from the series documented in the artist's monographic albums (Album 1, p. 16, no. 47) with a note: "Painted white bottles on a white surface and background. With colour, [I] arranged them in 'space'..."

    The problem of spatial construction and interplay of its elements preoccupied Yankilevsky throughout his entire artistic path, yet the starting point for his experiments was in the late 1950s. The artist confessed: "In 1959-1960, I was captivated by the idea of interaction in the painterly space of a picture, which I considered to be a model of the world. It seemed to me that the pictorial environment, its tonality, is the bearer of the overall quality that permeates all elements of the picture. Against the background of this tonality appear 'centers of excitement' of the pictorial environment. The qualities that distinguish 'centers of excitement' from tonality determine the degree and energy of interaction of the 'centers of excitement' with [tonality]."

    These ideas could not be better represented in Bottles. Transformed 'with colour' into amorphic shapes, the bottles act as universal energetic flows against a neutral earthy background, setting a certain degree of tension and movement in the composition. By using a specific object as reference point and transforming it into an abstract form, Yankilevsky brings the images of the mundane and the metaphysical worlds together. In this sense, Bottles present the rudiments for abstract and figurative images which would later appear in artist's monumental works. They formed the the foundation for the unique artistic language which Yankilevsky used to convey his own 'model of the world.'
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