Artist Feature: Milana Braslavsky


I work with domestic settings and distorted figuration, and the characters in my photographs transform themselves using basic materials including purses, pillows and their own hair. I use commonplace objects in combination with the human figure, or substitute objects for the figure to convey feelings of loneliness and comfort, as well as the need for physical and mental protection. The objects used in the photographs are usually mined from my family’s belongings.

My family moved to the United States from the Soviet Union during my formative years, and I express the feelings of alienation and detachment that I experienced, and the wish to assimilate and belong, through the tension and discomfort conveyed in the artwork.

For the past few years, I have been working with the still life format. I typically set up still lifes in a domestic environment (mainly in family homes where I rearrange furniture and disrupt daily life).

The French phrase for still life, “nature morte” means “dead nature,” and throughout history have been reminders of our eventual demise, with tableaux featuring mundane foods and things, with various memento mori (objects that were reminders of death) thrown in for good measure. Skulls, rotting fruit, dead animals and bugs were regularly featured as part of the visual metaphor for life and death. I have been using some typical still life objects such as plants, tableware and fruit, and some atypical objects like books wrapped in clothing and small household appliances wearing button down dress shirts.

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