Sasha Pivovarova on the rise of Beautalism
Supermodel Sasha Pivovarova talks signing with Runway Gallery as an artist, the indelible link between fashion and art, and her part in a new movement called Beautalism
By Lee Sharrock Above image courtesy of Sasha Pivovarova. Wednesday 16 September, 2020 Short read
When we speak about this exciting new partnership, Pivovarova is isolating in the Hamptons where, despite the enforced solitary confinement, her practice is galvanised rather than hindered. As real-life fashion shoots were put on hold or moved to Zoom or FaceTime, Pivovarova turned to art. ‘I worked all the way through,’ she says proudly.
A self-taught artist whose love of drawing and experimenting with colour palettes stretches back to childhood, Pivovarova reminisces about doodling throughout school. And even while she was making a name for herself as a successful international model, she was always using the travel time and downtime to sketch. She still refers to those earlier sketch books when making art now and they inform her expressionist aesthetic that can be seen in the body of work that Runway Gallery will exhibit.
I ask Pivovarova if this implies a lot of movement when she creates, and whether she takes inspiration from the abstract expressionists, or the performance artists of the 1960s who used the physical body as a medium. ‘When I create my big-scale installations, I often shoot the process on video, and in these videos I become like a drop of paint myself, moving and transforming the empty space, filling it up with shapes and colours. It’s also a transformation for me, as I let all my emotions out. It’s like some kind of shamanic dance that I feel I put on canvas. But the most important thing is to realise my ideas, my mood and emotions, rather than using my physical body as the medium.’
In her recent series ‘Les Filles’, Pivovarova experimented with scale and the female figure, creating striking images of feminine forms with large eyes and exaggerated proportions. When I point out that these images, like the celebrated Vogue cover, bear some resemblance to her own fine features and ask if she would describe her work as abstracted self-portraiture, she replies: ‘Yes, I can say it’s a self-portraiture, but the form does not really matter here. Those faces are like notes for me, and I am like a composer creating a symphony from those notes.’
She goes on to explain how the concept of Beautalism relates to her own artistic practice: ‘I can search forever in order to find the right colour palettes or perfect media for my pieces. I take beauty very seriously.’