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Sinaida Michalskaja’s Pussy Deck | Beyond Innocent Kittens
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Sinaida Michalskaja’s Pussy Deck | Beyond Innocent Kittens

Picture of Sophia Francis
Updated: 29 January 2016
A bold exploration of aesthetic beauty that is encapsulated in a small but striking deck of playing cards – that is art with a purpose. This truly captivating series presents us with the unique hand-embroidered artwork of Sinaida Michalskaja, whose oeuvres are thought provoking in more ways than one.

A recent graduate from Central Saint Martins, Michalaskaja gained her Master’s Degree in Fine Art Photography and has since exhibited works in the US, Italy, Germany and the UK. As an artist, she is inspired by literature and daily life situations, and her opuses do more than just challenge our perceptions; they present us with an opportunity to question the actual surfaces.

What we get in the Pussy Deck series is a bold, astute artistic challenge to what is considered to be stereotypically ‘cute’ imagery. This series plays with and cleverly unstitches our perceptions of aesthetic beauty, with its liminal portrayal of what is perfect and what is possibly too perfect. Evocations of taxidermy afoot, these cute kittens stare lovingly back at the viewer, exhibiting both endearing and false adorability – an embodiment of the notion that beauty is only surface deep. There is, then, something delightfully manipulative about the Deck, which is shown in the entrapment of each of the kittens by the 36 embroidered playing cards – as well as Michalaskaja’s aesthetic paradox.

Another of Michalaskaja’s oeuvres, Windows, is similarly a tour-de-force, comprising of large photographs showing a variety of windows. In their juxtaposition of the interior and exterior, the near and the far, the artist’s striking photographs intriguingly present a combination of nature and the concept of the man-made. There is in this work something profound and thought-provoking, as we look both at and through these windows, seeing what is framed by the glass and what lies just beyond it. Windows has been exhibited at the Grimaldi Gavin Gallery in London, Mayfair, amongst other contemporary photographers such as Fabio Zonta and Laura Letinsky.