Moscow City Government
Moscow City Department of Culture
Russian Academy of Arts
Moscow Museum of Modern Art
Aidan Gallery


Oksana Mas
Curated by: Aidan Salakhova
Date: November 14 – December 14, 2008
Venue: Moscow Museum of Modern Art at 25 Petrovka Street, 3rd floor
Opening: November 13, 19:00

Moscow Museum of Modern Art presents a solo exhibition of Oksana Mas, an artist from Odessa who entered the Moscow artistic scene several years ago, supported by Aidan Gallery. Oksana Mas’ works were praised by the professional community and produced a high level of interest among collectors. The artist explores classical forms of art, such as painting and photography, catching minute nuances of her subjects taken from life.

Her style is always recognizable: laconic and mostly monochrome ‘sketchy’ paintings of monumental scale, very technological in their execution yet lyrical in their mood. Oksana constantly experiments with materials and techniques, inventing her own methods and combinations. Apart from traditional two-dimension works, the artist creates unique objects made of leather, plastic and even the outdated car engines. All this will be on view at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art.

Oksana Mas represents the new generation of the South Russian Wave. She was born and raised in Ukraine. Mas currently lives and works in Odessa. It is important to note that there are no traces of provincial thinking in her art. Her first solo show in Aidan Gallery in 2004 has convinced even the most skeptical critics that a new, fully formed and independent-minded artist appears on the Moscow art scene.

Coming from a gender minority inside the mostly male world of South Russian Wave, Oksana Mas gives us a softer, more viewer-friendly version of the movement. But this “softness” is deceptive. The critics’ terms for describing South Russian Wave are all relevant to Mas’s art: it is “hot post-modern”, “transavant-garde neobaroque”, “new tenderness”. More than that, Oksana Mas is a living negation of the kind of weak stereotypes that are still persistent in relation to “female art”. She has looks, financial and psychological stability and is not ashamed of them. She also ignores the favorite topics of feminist discourse – “male gaze”, “social gender” and the like. Mas is not interested in art as a means to overcome and/or problematize identity issues. But her art is not a time-kill by an idle and content woman, the type that dabbles in art in her spare time. The artist says that art is important to her as a psychological necessity and a way to sustain self-discipline.

In 2004 Mas enchanted the Russian capital with a series of black and white paintings. Three years later she reappeared with an unexpectedly colorful series “Hired To Dream”, and, a few months later, introduced “Drive”, a project with a markedly southern spirit. Mas does not confine herself within the borders of traditional media. Two series of objects will be shown at the Moscow Museum Of Modern Art. “Epidermism Phenomenon” shocked the Kiev art lovers in 2005 with its references to Salvador Dali’s surrealistic nightmares and William Burroughs’ drug-induced visions. An “Art Moscow” fair hit, “Heart transplant”, subverts the masculine monopoly on vehicle care with objects that are copies of car engines made using expensive leather and decorated with precious metals.

Biographical note

Oksana Mas was born in 1969 in the town of Ilyichevsk near Odessa. She graduated from the Ilyichevsk School of Art (1986), the M.B. Grekov Odessa State College (1992) and the Faculty of Philosophy at the I.I. Mechnikov Odessa State University (2003). She engages in painting, working in an individual technique patented in Ukraine. She took part in numerous group exhibitions in Ukraine, Russia, Europe, and the USA. Since 2003, she actively collaborates with the Moscow Aidan Gallery. The artist’s personal shows were held in Odessa (1995-1997), Kiev (2001-2005), Czech Republic (1997), the Netherlands (1997-1998), Spain (2004), and France (2005). Oksana Mas’s works were acquired by the Ukranian Ministry of Culture for the art museums of Lvov and Donetsk, by the Amsterdam Museum of Contemporary Art, by the Valkenburg City Hall (Netherlands), by the Charity Foundation for Disabled (Venice), as well as by many private collectors from different countries.

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