YO\KO+INA is an artistic duo, represented by the artists Yonko Vassilev and Ina Trifonova. Both have their own prior history and trajectory of development on their way towards art but in 2018 they gather as partners in life and art. YO\KO+INA is a conceptual platform for contemporary art which features the duo’s understanding of the so called ‘trendy art’ or contemporary art based on good international practices as well as modern trends in art and design.
Furthermore, the platform is an original attempt to overcome the gravity of the local and the predetermined visualizations and beliefs in an art defined by geographies. The influences and conceptualization of color in visual arts, the technological aspects of the object as a form of contemporary art, the incorporation of technologies such as LED lighting, kinetic movement of objects and the use of painting as a basis for art are an unusual drive for both artists.
Concepts and themes, based on the relationships between man and woman, love juxtaposed with daily chores and existence as a play of visual codes are all brought out to a sign and a symbol, combined with contemporary pop art and minimalist stylistics.
The “Neon series” – “The Bull, The Elephant and The Shark” are perhaps the most landmark art pieces of YO\KO+INA’s art, а foundation, upon which both artists build their concept. They are objects with a factory-made image of the mass-produced toys, built out of fiberglass and transformed by the artists through cutting and adding extra constructions in some spots. Their surfaces are colored with a neon red automobile paint with a glossy finish on the top.
The duo’s choice to reproduce factory-made images is dictated by the early concepts in Pop art linked to mass production and how it relates to contemporary art and human life.
The sculptural imagery of “The Bull”, “The Shark” and “The Elephant” are filled with symbolic codes of the artists’ beliefs about “Strength” – the energy, which makes breakthrough in life, “Cleverness” – the ability to survive, the predator’s law of “the global village”, where modern man is living and “Memory” – the capacity to remember existence and accomplishments of those before us. The Neon Red color represents blood, humus soil, main ingredient of life, the red thread, which connects us all.
The objects “Mono and Dual”, “The Lipstick” and “Get your hair done” are significant for “YO\KO+INA’s art because they recreate aspects of the relationship between both artists. “Mono and Dual” – represents objects of two minimalist style rabbit heads, which are spinning in different directions until they cross at a certain turning point of their trajectories.
The lonely human life path is interrupted by the meeting of a soulmate, which is a sort of an intervention of their being. This is precisely reflected in the eternal movement of the two rabbit heads and their turning point, respectively the human life of the artists.
“The Lipstick” and “Get your hair done” are objects which bring ironical insight on femininity, via exaggerating iconic objects and scaling accessories from women’s lifestyle. These objects are considered art with characteristics of design, artifacts of women’s wardrobe and fetishist symbols in men’s consciousness.
As mentioned before YO\KO+INA contemporary platform is also associated with painting, but it is only used as a foundation upon which they can build and develop a certain theme or vision, connected to their art, and by no means contemporary art by itself.
The “Objective painting” series are picturesque interventions on canvas with materiality of small silicon bubbles, which give a pixelated sound of the surface of the artworks. Applying picturesque masks through a monotyping technique and printmaking is also a characteristic of their concept of painting.
Along with monotypes, handprints, and canvas’s surface changes the artistic duo uses colorful techniques on three-dimensional constructed objects representing painting which leaves the canvas space.