“Yuliya came to one of the first Miami fairs that was still taking place in hotel rooms. After a pleasant chat, she gave me her card featuring strange creatures and some pink swirly handwriting. Interesting but not for our program, I admittedly thought. This disparity is still true, yet there was something mischievous about Yuliya that had made me curious. Not as mischievous as her films and fetish like reassembled doll characters I was to find out. In all their dark and traumatic narrative, Yuilya’s works also bear something innocent, dream and childlike. Yuliya always laughed when she showed me her latest scary toy. Lately her work has become more poetic, with wonderful musical scores. The traumas might have dissolved in her art.”
Yuliya Lanina works with film, painting, performance and animation. In her works on paper and canvas she introduces anthropomorphic, whimsical and mysterious larger-than life characters, that she then often transports into public spaces, onto mechanical stages and what she calls animatronics. Many of her characters derive from her manipulated and reassembled dolls and quirky animals, which evolve into semi-mythical creatures between animal and human being to form Lanina’s own peculiar universe.
Animatronics are mechanical paintings, which consist of three-dimensional automatons with painted flat characters moving on different planes. This set up of images, sound and movement is Lanina's attempt to create a work of art that exists on the threshold between painting, animation and sculpture. Often her works are accompanied by original music compositions, which is not surprising as Lanina was originally trained as a pianist.
With her ‘fairy tales for adults’, the Russian born artist creates alternate realities based on fantasy, femininity, and humor. Lanina wants to encourage our imagination and lure us into another world, which can also be disturbing and unsettling. Lanina’s works deal with social issues like gender perception, loss, sexual violence, addictions, childhood traumas and motherhood. Her worlds of dreams and nightmares address these subjects in a playful manner while demonstrating prevailing imbalances.
Lanina is particularly interested in turning the traditional medium of painting into a multi-dimensional and immersive experience for the viewer by using animation and stop motion filming methods. Her unconventional vocabulary recalls the installations, performances and films by Natalie Djurberg and Paul McCarthy, whose oeuvre is rooted in typical Americana, such as Disneyland, B-Movies, Soap Operas and comics.
Yulijana Lanina has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. Her work has amongst others been displayed at the Seoul Art Museum and the Beijing Biennial in 2009, the Seoul International Media Art Biennial 2008 and the KunstFilmBiennale 2007. Lanina has been awarded numerous prestigious residencies like the Yaddo Residency in Saratoga Springs, USA, the NYSG Residency in New York, the NY Arts Residency in Beijing (China) and SODA in Perth (Australia).
Exhibitions at the gallery:
Mama, 2011 (solo show)
This is not a fairy tale, 2008 (group show)