Once you understand Vera Vladimirsky‘s work it makes perfect sense that her studio doubles as her home. Her nostalgic photographic projects that play tricks on the eye are created in her cozy apartment in the Florentin neighborhood of Tel Aviv. The old school patterned tiles on the floor, cracked paint on the window sills and myriad of prints haphazardly hanging on the walls are reminiscent of the homes in Vladimirsky’s series, The Last Apartment / Where Are You From Originally?
Domesticity and the complex notion of home is one that runs rampant in Vladimirsky’s artwork and personal life. “I always present first The Last Apartment or Where Are You From Originally? Series as the beginning of where I’m coming from in regards to themes that are a big part of my research and my interest” she said.
Her interest in the notion of home and questioning what a home is stems from her early childhood when she moved around frequently. In addition to moving apartments often she also migrated to Israel from the Ukraine as a young child. These environments have had a profound impact on her work as an artist. Of her primary source of inspiration she explained, “I always look at home aesthetics as signifiers of larger and deeper processes and I like to combine aesthetics from the Ukraine, the aesthetics I grew up amongst and the Israeli ones.”
In her later work Paper Walls, Vera Vladimirsky continues to push this idea of home aesthetics and the sense of identity that a physical space can create. With Paper Walls she photographs generic plants and flowers that are local and common to Israel. Then digitally she creates high resolution seamless patterns out of these photos. The final product is a wallpaper that is reminiscent of the heavily decorated and ornamented apartments she remembers from the Ukraine. ” A former Soviet home is just many layers of wallpaper and carpet on the wall and table clothes and curtains and cushions and sofas and everything is in some different flower pattern,” she explained. “I really wanted to channel this and combine it with common, local, generic Israeli aesthetics I can see just right in plants on the side of the road.” Through this unique process Vladimirsky has fused her two identities to create one harmonious product.
Although working in the medium of photography her work is not always immediately recognizable as a photograph, especially when it is installed in an installation context. When asked why she gravitated towards photography as opposed to another process Vladimirsky explained, “I grew up within this medium, as my grandfathers of both sides are professional photographers, and so is my aunt. The most significant role was played by my parents as my father bought me my first camera at the age of 14 and thaught me everything about photography, and my mom always appreciated this art. The medium was a huge part of me becoming a creative person, and for me, choosing this medium was a natural step.” Photography allows her to explore other processes such as collage and assemblage that toe the line between representation and abstraction.
Perpetually concerned with her surroundings Vera Vladimirsky’s current work is strongly influenced by the Tel Avivian art scene she is a part of. She is in the process of receiving her MFA from Bezalel and has exhibited in the seventh and tenth editions of the Fresh Paint Art Fair in Tel Aviv. With regards to her place in this community that has become her home, she enthusiastically shared “My whole surrounding is very vibrant and is very inspirational and I’m very grateful for all the people I’m surrounded by and the discourse I am a part of. ”
Vera Vladimirsky has exhibited extensively internationally, in museums and galleries, photography festivals and art fairs in Israel and Europe, and participated in artist residences in the US. In 2016, Vera Vladimirsky was awarded the prestigious Young Artist Prize by Israel’s Ministry of Culture.
Cover Image: Vera Vladimirsky discusses her series “Where are you from originally?” in her Tel Aviv studio. Photo by Pavlina Schultz.