Vitaliy and Elena Vasileva are an Ukrainian husband and wife art-duo, specialized in the field of photography. Their strong photographic expression tell a story of longing, anxiousness, mourning, loneliness, pain and torment.
Elena was born in 1975 in Kharkov, Ukraine, where she graduated from Kharkov College of design and décor. Vitaliy was also born in the same town as Elena, where he graduated from the Kharkov University. They started their artistic odyssey in 2002, when Elena discovered the world of photography and completely dedicated herself to it.
Large part of their body of work consist of nude photographs. These images are exceptionally powerful, full of tension and energy, executed with a great sense of ideas, vision and technical abilities. The depicted models are remarkably beautiful – their poses look staged, confidently exposed, with intended theatrical dynamic. Backgrounds and props, and in particular the lighting is an important part of the photograph and enhances the intensity of the subject and feel of the overall effect. Most of the time Elena chooses dark tones for their photos which suit the wanted atmosphere better than colorful sets.
Apart from nude photography, the duo created a series called Apocalypse in Art, which builds upon the morbid and wide-sweeping contemporary fascination in catastrophe and disaster, particularly theories regarding the end of the world. They imagined icons of architecture meeting their end, and constructed five accurate models of museums, invented the plot of the story and selected special locations for shooting. These institutions of art — housed within some of the most important architectural structures in the world — are set in ominous landscapes, disintegrating and being swept away by destructive natural elements. Amongst the photographic works is New York’s Guggenheim museum teetering over the edge of a cliff and buried beneath mounds of sand and dust.
Elena and Vitaliy are currently the most expensive Ukrainian photographers. This family couple of artists brought up by Kharkov photography school and shooting for Vogue, Stern and Spiegel, established several Ukrainian records last year. In February at Phillips auction their diptych Neo was bought for $63 400. In March at the same auction Vasiliev’s work Ice was sold for $106 900, that three times exceeded its estimated price.
Their work has been exhibited in prestigious galleries worldwide including The Opera Gallery and The Museum of Modern Art – MOMA in New York. As well as acclaimed international exhibitions, Elena and Vitaliy have been published across continents in several magazines including German Vogue, Stern, Black and White Photo, as well many notable Russian and Ukrainian publications. In June 2005, their work was also the subject of a book, published in Germany, called Behind My Eyes.
They are currently settled both in Kiev and Munich.
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