In the Western world, color is underestimated
The nature of a synesthetic experience means that the pairing of senses may seem quite ordinary. Anastasia Bankova easily makes you feel the sweet and slightly bitter taste of her paintings. Almost edible colors are complemented by fluid shapes reminiscent of human liquids. Colorful and hedonistic paintings with melting objects undoubtedly refer to sexual context.
While the subject of Bankova’s paintings alludes to works by Wayne Thiebaut, who is famous for still lifes of mouthwatering edible treats, the idea is totally different. In contrast to Thiebaut’s cakes, Anastasia Bankova’s canvases do not provoke any nostalgia at all but rather celebrate sexuality, sometimes in an ironic way.
The artist’s works are the quintessence of pleasure. Bankova admires the smoothness of the lines, the soft flow of delicious cakes and creams. Cherries on cakes represent the culminating point of pleasure — euphoria, ecstasy, orgasm. Gently yellow slides of paint on the palette spread with custard eclairs and powder-pink pyramids of macaroni immerse the viewer in the aesthetics of the showcases of Parisian pastry shops. The material itself is aware of its plasticity and pleasure it brings to the artist.
The way Bankova opposes innocent pastel colors to the darker side of pleasure and maybe even sense of guilt, which however ends up in euphoria reminds hedonistic video art of Pipilotti Rist. Both artists effortlessly and provocatively work with aspects of feminism, abundant pleasure and stereotypes of sexuality.
The visual language of paintings, ceramics and crocheted objects by Anastasia Bankova often deals with the quotidian, personal memories, or diary entries, being continuously destroyed and recreated in childish but at the same time decadent manner. In her works, the artist boldly reveals the pulsing universe of pleasure, pain, sexuality and playfulness that we often avoid to discuss.
Curator, art critic
Co-founder of fābula gallery