On September 19th, Russian artist Ivan Alifan (previously covered here) will debut new paintings inspired by the “modern gaze” at the Unit London. His impressionist milky (it’s not milk) paintings are both mysterious and seductive, with underlying sexual subtext. This ambiguity is intended to provoke self awareness of the viewer, almost with a slight embarrassment. 19th century artists such as Edouard Manet, “father” of impressionism, utilized the modern gaze to address their viewer with similar affect. Nudes look out at us imploringly as they deflect unwelcome attention from their companions. Alifan’s sopping subjects, who are erotized in a disarming way, also break the fourth wall. Rather than speaking to the viewer with the eyes, they appeal to our emotional response. At his website, Alifan shares, “To have a painting that can exist as an alluring object and shift into an eroticized figure disarms and naturalizes the modern gaze; decriminalizing sex in art.”
New work by Ivan Alifan will appear in “U” at the Unit London from September 19 to October 18, 2014.