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13 Nov

Anastasia Pilepchuk crafts intricate, out-of-this-world masks

Pearl-encrusted tongues, skin created from cherries or fake eyes, cheeks for candleholders: the artist’s fantastical masks transport you to a different realm

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One take a look at Anastasia Pilepchuk’s Instagram feed and also you’re transported to a distinct realm. Pearl-encrusted tongues, skin created from cherries or fake eyes, cheeks for candleholders: her universe is made up of an array of fantastical masks in unexpected forms. If the 94k-strong following that the Russia-born, Berlin-based artist has amassed is to be believed, it’s one many individuals need to spend time in.

Pilepchuk’s craft began almost a decade ago, making costumes for the DJ duo she founded along with her girlfriend (“we created a legend that we were some sexless creatures,” she says). In some unspecified time in the future, nevertheless, she realised the music world takes greater than it gives. “I separated the activities and that was my best decision,” she says. “I left myself only the creation of masks.” Since then, Pilepchuk’s mask-making has grow to be increasingly complex, each aesthetically and technically.

At first glance, you’d be forgiven for pondering Pilepchuk’s masks had been taken from their very own foreign planets. But quite the alternative: Pipelchuk’s work is rooted in a fascination with the world round her that began when she was young. “My earliest memories of beauty are blocks of frozen ice on Lake Baikal, alien-like icicles on the Angara River, mountains in Buryatia… ” she says, recalling the landscape of her home in eastern Russia. It was this unique natural habitat, plus the presence of her caring grandmother, that Pilepchuk credits as a few of her most formative influences.

Her personal definition of beauty? “What enchants, what makes me need to stop and consider, and what’s obscure.” As children, she says, it’s easy for us to admire and see the wonder in lots of manifestations of life, but once we grow old we lose this ability. Through her art, this childlike sense of wonder is something that Pilepchuk has clung onto, and is what makes her work so engaging. “I view strange phenomena from different angles and synthesise my very own beauty.” 

Her creations are the result: observations, thoughts and anxieties about herself and the planet, one way or the other distilled into perfect, wearable worlds. On Pilepchuk’s body, each mask seems to come back alive to inform its own story. “For those who put all my masks in a row, it will be a form of biography, my biography,” she has said about her work. We’ll be searching for the following chapter.

Are you able to tell us a bit about yourself and where you grew up?

Anastasia Pilepchuk: After I was a toddler I lived in several places. The primary three years I spent in Yakutia, Neryngri. I don’t remember anything from there except permafrost and twin teachers in my kindergarten. After I was around 4, my family moved between Irkutsk and the Buryat city of Ulan-Ude. Most of my good childhood memories are from Ulan-Ude. It’s a spot where shamanism, Buddhism, and orthodoxy coexist. After I was eight my family moved to Moscow, where I spent most of my life. I graduated from the Moscow State University of Design and Technology with a level in fashion design but decided to not develop the concept. Now I live in Berlin.

Ever since I remember, I even have at all times been curious about art. My self-expression took many forms. I loved to play the guitar and piano, I drew, knitted and sculpted. I loved to walk through the forests and fields, inventing my very own world. I assumed I could consult with birds and cats.

What’s it that you just do now?

Anastasia Pilepchuk: I create art masks. I study myself and the things around me. I go through the collected experience and impressions and recreate my very own world with different entities that contain my observations and memories.

How has social media played a task in your creative journey?

Anastasia Pilepchuk: I began making masks back after I rarely used Instagram. For a very long time, I didn’t post my work and just blogged about my life. In some unspecified time in the future, I got over my imposter syndrome and steadily masks became the major content on my page. In fact, that helped me quite a bit. I had no concept that Instagram would bring a lot attention to my work. Because of this platform, I discovered like-minded people and my audience, I became known everywhere in the world, and I got the chance to work with great people.

Who’s your beauty icon?

Anastasia Pilepchuk: After I was a toddler and a teen, I used to be head over heels in love with Björk for her madness, for her vision, for the pictures and in fact the music. I still consider her one of the crucial sensible people in the sector of music and self-expression.

When do you are feeling most beautiful?

Anastasia Pilepchuk: I can’t say that I reflect on whether or not I’m beautiful. Sometimes I look within the mirror and see someone I like, sometimes the alternative. Nonetheless, I can definitely say that I feel great after I do my favourite things, after I communicate with my family members or after I enjoy nature. These should be the moments after I look my best.

What’s the longer term of beauty?

Anastasia Pilepchuk: It’s difficult for me to predict, but I wish there have been more experiments – not only on social media pages, but in addition in real life.

You might be God and you might be creating humans. They will look nevertheless you wish them to. What do they appear like?

Anastasia Pilepchuk: I might add ears like cats, a tail, and one other pair of hands. I’d also make skin colors quite vibrant – different shades of blue, pink and so forth. Apart from that, persons are pretty cool.

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