Pink sadness is the sadness of white anchovies. It is the sadness of deprivation, of going without, of having to swallow when your throat is no bigger than an acupuncture pin; it’s the sadness of mushrooms born with heads too big for their bodies, the sadness of having the soles come off your only pair of shoes, or your favorite pair, it makes no difference, pink sadness cannot be measured by a gameshow host, it is the sadness of shame when you have done nothing wrong, pink sadness is not your fault, and though even the littlest twinge may cause it, it is the vast bushy top on the family tree of sadness, whose faraway roots resemble a colossal squid with eyes the size of soccer balls.
– Mary Ruefle, My Private Property, Wave Books, 2016
In her series of essays entitled My Private Property, American poet Mary Ruefle describes various colours of sadness. Blue sadness is the sadness of reverie and nostalgia. Purple sadness is the sadness of classical music and eggplant, insomnia and the crescent moon. Orange sadness is the sadness of anxiety, yellow – of surprises, naps and eggs. Brown sadness is simple, white is the sadness of radio waves travelling endlessly in space.
Ivashkevich’s practice is tinged with a specific aura of nostalgia and melancholy. As in Ruefle’s case, in works by Ivashkevich sadness is mixed with joy, trivial and common things are juxtaposed with matters of the utmost importance, thus gaining a poetic dimension.
Ivashkevich often draws on scenes from the films she has watched. They are barely recognisable, however, because she intertwines them with products of her own imagination and memories from the past. In this way, a series of intriguing stories with unexpected twists and turns has emerged.
Seemingly superficial beauty, which Ivashkevich spices up with an admixture of absurdity, reveals a world full of mysteries and surreal scenarios. Faceless or backward-facing figures; a composition borrowed from Masato Seto’s photography, in which the toy object is replaced with the skeleton of a cheetah – these and other elements in Ivashkevich’s works heighten the sense of anxiety and even horror, leaving the viewer in the sphere of guesses and speculation. They depict the thin line that separates a dream from a nightmare.
Alongside cinema, sleep and the painting process provide Ivashkevich with a springboard to escape from reality. They create an intimate space, a precious area of private property, to which we are temporarily granted access.
Born in 1992 in Minsk, Belarus, she has graduated from the Minsk State College of Art and Design (Department of Painting) and Saint Petersburg Stieglitz Academy of Fine Arts (Department of Conservation and Restoration of Painting). In 2016, she received a scholarship from the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Wrocław; in 2021 – within the Gaude Polonia programme. Her works have been shown at individual and collective exhibitions in Belarus, Russia, Bulgaria and the USA.
She works as an art conservator.
She lives in Warsaw, Poland.
* title borrowed from Lana del Rey’s song entitled Dark Paradise