Men until recently had no place in Manikhin’s works - animals, in artist’s view, provided a more reliable and safe companionship for his muses. Positive masculinity was not on the menu in Russia, where the artist grew up, though moving to Berlin liberated him, allowing masculine figures to gradually enter the sacred space of women in Manikhin’s work.
Roman Manikhin is a Berlin-based interdisciplinary artist inviting us to his world of colourful celebration of life and freedom. In contrast to the widespread objectification and sexualization of women in arts, Manikhin considers nudity's potential for liberation from shame and oppressive norms. Magenta muses are the sovereign spirits, looking back proudly at the spectator from the painitngs.
Manikhin’s vision of a woman is shaped by his upbringing by a single mother. Internal spark, everlasting joy and timeless youthfulness is how femininity got imprinted in his childhood memory. The playfulness and power of his images transmit Manikhin’s longing for an ephemeral lover, after whom he models all of his women. The witty sly smiles and glances they throw towards the viewer reconnect us to the first human mother:
empowered, playful, and yet keeping an eye on her children.
Inspired by his family, friends, visual arts, literature and pop culture, Manikhin provides the viewer with the reflection of today’s society through the prism of his life experience. Similarly to artists that inspire him, such as Tschabalala Self, Nina Chanel Abney, Todd James and Sanya Kantarovsky, Manikhin is not afraid to let his intense emotions and vibrant colours overtake his artworks. Both paintings and wood sculptures stand out with their bright hues, provoking poses and nudity, freed from restrictive social norms and expectations. Manikhin’s experience as a successful illustrator and graphic designer informs his palette and the usage of bold lines. Despite suffering and darkness the world is currently overwhelmed with, he believes his artistic mission is to spread light and provide an escape into the warm, light-hearted paradise where humans, animals, and plants can all enjoy each other - joyfully and in peace.
The artist’s paintings are on display at the museum Zuzeum in Riga and in private collections in Russia, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, Sweden and the USA
“Roman Manikhin is an painter with a wonderfully strange vision of distorted sensuality, lowbrow tropes stretched util they implode upon themselves in howlingshapes and colors”.
Roman Muradov (San Francisco) www.medium.com