Classical painting, Dutch still lifes, traditional folk imagery, Art Deco influences, and high fashion collide in extraordinary compositions that have brought the artistic duo Andrey Yakovlev and Lili Aleeva international recognition. Their works combine their individual talents in equal measure; Aleeva, the Art Director, designs and sets the scenes, and Yakovlev photographs them.
Composition, color, and concept are the three main components of the duo’s work. When it comes to the latter, they have a very specific approach. Playfully constructed references to art history, the translation of traditional images into modern ones – that’s what makes the works of Yakovlev and Aleeva’s so powerful.
The Triumph Of Form
The works of the Triumph of Form series are inspired by the masters of art history. In them, Moscow-based artist duo Andrey Yakovlev & Lili Aleeva draw inspiration from famous paintings and historical art styles to create new and fascinating photographs. As a result, they enter into an artistic dialogue with Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" (1665) and transform the central, eponymous element from this world-famous work of art into the face of a clock without hands. This allegorical timelessness becomes an extraordinary experience against the constructivist background, carrying the viewer across different eras of cultural history. Likewise, in Sisters, inspiration is drawn from a painting in the Louvre: "Gabrielle d'Estrées and one of her sisters" (1594). Yakovlev & Aleeva decoratively redesign and colorize the image with an innovative color palette. Lights, tints, gestures, graphic elements, and even the gaze of the female subjects in the bathroom are a multifaceted reference to the original. Another great source of inspiration was the work of glamorous and melancholic painter Tamara de Lempickas, who was famous in the 1920s and 30s for her Art Deco portraits of aristocrats and members of high society. With its immense diversity, the Triumph of Form series transcends the various eras of art history and creates a lush ecosystem of imagery that spans from the 16th to the 20th centuries, captivating the viewer.
Clear facial features and a piercing look. Dress, headscarf, and lips the same impressive shade of red. Upon first glance, the composition appears to be as simple as its name: “Girl with a Fish”. On closer inspection, however, the artists’ finesse emerges: We notice the silvery sea bream is resting on nothing less than a piece of tissue paper decorated with the famous Louis Vuitton emblem. The color, composition, and materiality are suggestive of the Russian avant-garde movement, and the image is reminiscent of Kusma Sergeevich Petrov-Vodkin’s “Girl in red headscarf”.
While “Girl with a Fish” impresses through its minimalist style, other works in the Gallery series are characterized by opulence. The artists present two classic beauties in silk dresses in front of a table laden with culinary delights. Facing the viewer, the models are enigmatic and mysterious. Nothing in the image is left to chance; carefully draped, the curtains and tablecloth complete the composition. The photo’s subjects evoke the paintings of Jan Vermeers and Pieter Claeszs.
|1962||born in Izhevsk, Russia|
|1991||Opened his own photo studio|
|1998-present||Together with Art Director Lili Aleeva|
|Lives and works as a freelance photographer in Moscow |
|2011||Gold Medal in the Trierenberg Super Circuit|
|2006||First prize in the Moscow advertising photo contest, “Professional”|
|1990||Two awards for best photographer in the photo contest of Russian photographic artists |
Picasso once said, „You don’t make art, you find it.” Where do you find art?
We didn't choose this path, it found us. From a young age, we were unable to imagine life outside the visual arts. It‘s our destiny. Inspiration comes from all around us: from traveling and nature to movies, other artists, music, etc.
From concept to creation: How do you approach your work?
It’s teamwork. Together we discuss our ideas and create an outline. We then clarify details with a team of stylists and agents to decide on appropriate locations.
What’s your favorite book?
Lili: I always enjoy books about artists and their lives
Andrei: "The Twelve Chairs“ by Ilf and Petrov.
Which artist would you like to have coffee with and what would you discuss?
Andrei: The greatest artist in the world, Michelangelo.
How did your interest in art develop?
During our years in advertising, people commented on the uniqueness of our projects – comparing them to art. From there, we began to realize our own at projects.
Who in your life influences you the most?
We have a lot of creative people on our team - makeup artists, stylists, etc. - and they bring talent to projects as well.
If you had a time machine, where would you travel?
Preferably the 30s. But only if time would then stand still.
What is your greatest passion – aside from art?
Lily: I enjoy dancing.
Andrei : I love to cook and travel.
What are you working on at the moment?
We have a post-impressionist project in the pipeline; It’s a theme we’ve been interested in exploring.