Jasmin Anoschkin creates her sculptures entirely by her own hand, whether she is carving wood with a chainsaw or molding clay. Eschewing attempts at technical perfection, she does not hide evidence of these physical processes, embracing uneven surfaces or unexpected glaze effects in her ceramic works. Her whimsical yet poignant characters and the dreamlike world they inhabit suggest an alternative to the rigid and narrow societal standards of what is valued and accepted. Their absolute and unironic sincerity feels almost radical—perhaps even uncomfortable sometimes—provoking reflection not only on the prejudices we hold towards others but on the internalized shame we carry within ourselves. Empowering through the permission it offers, this fantasy universe is an invitation to play and to exist as we are, without inhibition.
Each work that Anoschkin has produced over the course of her career as a sculptor forms a piece to an ongoing story. No linear timeline or cohesive narrative is made apparent to the viewer in this surreal journey; her creatures interact but their relationships remain ambiguous. Yet, the artist allows us glimpses into her inner life through the unique titles she bestows upon each piece. Often humorous and surprising, they imbue the sculptures with distinct personalities and individual histories. There’s No Italian Man and Bunch of Violets were conceived as a pair, in memory of Anoschkin’s late aunt Terttu, a great supporter of Jasmin’s creativity. When Terttu was younger, there was an Italian man she would visit every summer. Later, when Jasmin would try to inquire about him, she would always snap, “There’s no Italian man.” Bunch of Violets in Finnish is Terttu Orvokki, a play on her aunt’s name. Contemporary Stalker received its title when it emerged from the kiln and Jasmin, an artist for the past twenty years, proclaimed, “Oh yes, I have finally made contemporary art!” A recurring motif throughout her practice has been the unicorn, which she has adopted as an avatar both in her sculptural and video works, as seen in this exhibition with Platinum Yoga Unicorn and Golden Menstruation Yoga. Through her unicorn persona, Anoschkin rejoices in herself.