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Interview with Aleksandra Weld Queen

By /ART/
Photo

Ekaterina Uryutova

Interview with Aleksandra Weld Queen

Purplehaze Magazine enjoys meeting creatives — artists, designers, photographers who talk about their interesting life experience and share secret to success. This time we talk to Aleksandra Weld Queen, the artist who creates scale sculptures and installations by welding metal. And, yes, she does it herself because she is a qualified welding specialist. While Weld Queen is at work in her own castle (artist’s studio), her major works decorate both public spaces and private collections. How to combine arts and crafts, deal with artistic blocks and balance in the world where sexes do battle read below in the interview.

P.H. Hi Aleksandra! I wonder how you came to be Weld Queen? By the way, why Weld Queen exactly?
A.W. Well, you might say that this image came to me by chance. I created my first sculpture work in 2015 — waking up on one April morning, I imagined a huge meditating cat called Tikhvami and realized this was just me! I felt so much energy at that moment, so I was ready to throw myself into art. Of course, I was sure that my life wasn’t going to be the same as it used to be. I needed a kind of a stage name, so I asked a friend of mine for help. She’s a linguist. Together we could think of a couple of names but there was one that just hit me — Weld Queen, that’s how the choice was made. In fact, Weld is a noun or a short form of the adjective, for this reason many colleagues and partners tried to correct me all the time — say, you’d better call it Welding Queen. But I don’t really care as Weld Queen sounds fine.

P.H. You weren’t interested in art before 2015, were you?
A.W. Actually, I’ve loved arts and crafts since I was a child. Remember, at the age of 17 I enjoyed putting together LEGO model kits while many girls of my age were dating boys. I took up oil painting in 2007. It was more like a hobby for me, pretty naive. However, I quickly realized I was searching for more, so I asked my stepfather to teach me to work with metal (he is a big expert in this field). I started creating small sculptures — back then I had no grand ideas, but some images I wanted to bring from canvas to reality. I entered Welding Technologies at the Polytechnic College, as I was never aiming at receiving academic art education — I had to work instead. In fact, I didn’t see myself as an artist in those years, it came much later.

P.H.  Honestly, the image of Weld Queen looks bold for Russia. Do they consider you to be a feminist? What is your attitude towards feminism, by the way?
A.W. Good question! No, I’m definitely not a feminist. I don’t feel like proving something to the opposite sex. I appreciate men and don’t see them as my competitors. They are more like my companions, there is much to learn from them: e.g. assurance, determination, manhood. By the way, I coined a special term to describe my attitude towards gender issues — neofeminism. I see it the following way: Russian women have recently started to realize their rights and possibilities, so they want to break free from dependence on men. In the Western countries the evolution has already taken place — everyone is aware of the girls’ power. But what comes next? Yes, women do have a right to work, to have leisure time that they can devote to their personal interests. I would say, it’s internal struggle that comes next as women try to prove all those notions to themselves. When you finally achieve this inner freedom and have some faith in yourself, you just leave the senseless battlefield. I enjoy exploring my gender role as well as the position of women in society while making art. In the performance Nutrient Medium I am sitting inside the woman-shaped metal case and “charge” mobile phones with my breast (in fact, charges are attached to the case at breast height). That’s how I observe the woman’s position — in a game, watching from outside. It can be a good engine. I accept femininity and related with it expectations that arise from society — however, I’m outside the game. I am glad I realized it. It’s a work done for good, not in spite of something.

P.H. Apart from making sculptures, you integrate your image into performances. Imagine, it can steal viewers’ focus from the art you make to your personality…
A.W. I don’t think it’s a problem. Meanwhile my artistic activity is running smoothly: I wouldn’t prioritize either sculpture or performance. My life itself is art, everything is interlinked and goes so naturally. Whatever I do, I explore the energy flow, choosing a proper medium through which I want to show the concept. Performance pieces just enhance the perception of my works. In fact, I fully identify myself with Weld Queen, nothing else exists for me at the moment. For example, yesterday evening I was going out with my friends. Guess what I had on? No, not jeans or trainers or any casual outfit, I just couldn’t dress like that! I had my hair done, just like a royalty, so I put on the Queen’s dress and grabbed an iron fan… I felt the way real woman might feel when they wear traditional clothes — totally accepted and approved by the society. My body seems to like this appearance but anyway it’s simply a convention, the one that embodies a stereotypical vision of woman’s dress. Personally I try to live as natural as possible, doing the things I like. You can see it in my art: I enjoy being Weld Queen and living her life.

P.H. Can you think of the work that you’re really proud of and the one that didn’t meet your expectations?
A.W. The Mother sculpture exhibited in Zaryadye Park is a very important work for me. It took me almost a year to create it: from the moment the idea was born until its complete realization. People who came to lie in the arms of the Mother shared their impressions — they reached the outer space, they say! Some of them came at night to avoid crowds and spend more time interacting with the figure. Visitors who had this experience appreciate the feeling of acceptance and protection they had in Her arms. Probably I fulfilled my duty bringing the Mother to life — It made people happy for a moment. You know, everything in life is a part of the World harmony, for this reason I don’t find any of my works disappointing. Actually, visions come to me, I don’t make them out, that’s why there is no point in hesitating, I just put my ideas into practice.

P.H. Does it mean that you never change the design of the objects during the working process?
A.W. Well, it happened once. I had an idea to create a woman-shaped figure wrapped into a robe. When my team and I started working, I suddenly felt I was going to change my mind about that image. As the steel casing showed up, it struck me — she doesn’t need any clothing! Later I understood why — the figure lacked openness and courage. Was I afraid to admit it to myself? Anyway, at that moment it became clear. We corrected the casing, so it all made sense. You see, it’s all about the inner feeling that guides you. Just stay true to yourself.

P.H. Does your creativity depend on such external factors as weather?  I wonder if you work more or less on gloomy cloudy days…
A.W. Well, I don’t really depend on that. I love all the seasons and have no idea what Moscow melancholy (as we call it) is. Moscow is Moscow — sometimes it’s gloomy, sometimes it lacks sun. The latter is a problem, by the way, but still, it’s easy to solve — you just buy a plane ticket and fly away somewhere warm. Apart from this, I love this city. It’s beautiful in the meaning of architecture and culture and even weather. My studio is located on the territory of a real working factory, many trees grow there, so in autumn the ground is fully covered with colourful leaves, while in winter it’s all in the snow. Just stunning! In fact, I can’t understand people who don’t love place where they leave. If it’s so, why not to change it? However, this is hardly the case. Feeling bad inside, you won’t change things drastically just relocating to Goa or Thailand. You need an answer from within.

P.H. What about artistic blocks? Do you face any?
A.W. Yes, I do. However, they are not about the weather changing or anything happening in the outside world. When I have a work overload, I get quickly tired and start digging myself out. Here is what I found out: if you don’t feel good, a nice sleep, vitamins, hot tea and maybe an intimate conversation are all you need. Declines happen to everyone, however, I wouldn’t like to put it on public display.

P.H. Are you looking forward to participating in any specific exhibition/project?
A.W. As an artist I would really like to take part in Art Basel Miami. This summer I went to the art fair that focuses on the works by emerging artists called Scope Art Miami Beach. It’s been my fourth trip to the US, meanwhile my goal is to take a look around. I can’t think of any specific galleries I would like to work with yet. One thing is for sure — America is my destination, I am also interested in the Asian art market. I would say Western countries are more involved in the contemporary art field, local art institutions have much to offer to artists. The scope of services provided by some American galleries just amazed me — I could only dream of it!

P.H. Thank you for such an interesting conversation, Aleksandra! Before saying goodbye, please wish something to Purplehaze readers. ❤️
A.W. I wish you to listen to your heart, doing the things you enjoy. Trust yourself and follow your inspiration. If something gets you carried away, stop looking for excuses, just commit yourself to this activity. This is my secret to success.

Fashion show at Berlin House

By /ART/

UK based ‘Waste Free Fashion Collective’ present their zero-waste fashion catwalk at Soho House Berlin, presenting recycled fashion choices and advocating to make changes to the fashion industry. The catwalk was curated and organised by designer @erinlaurelhayhow and filmed by @jess_dadds, a brighton based videographer, documenting all the collectives catwalk films.  The collective is a collaborative collection of talented makeup artists, hair stylists, designers, models film and photography. Erin is currently working on a new collection for AW20 that will be launching soon, and the collective are working on their next catwalk performance, so stay tuned.

Lotte Bruning Donskoi „Shame on who?“

By /ART/

SHAME ON WHO?

Photography, production, art-direction, post-production: Lotte Bruning Donskoi
@lottebruningphotography from agency @thenextchapteragency
Artist/Illustrator: Soraya Basiran @soraya_basiran for the agency @angeliquehoornmanagement
Styling: April Jumelet @apriljumeletstyling
Hair & Make-up: Liselotte van Saarloos @liselottevansaarloos for MAC Cosmetics, Bumble & Bumble and TUSH Brushes
Hair & Make-up assistant: Wout Philippo @woutphilippobeauty
Models: sisters Merel @merel_aj & Femke @femke__bloem from agency @tjardamodelmanagement
Photography assistant: Pim van Baalen @pimvanbaalen

fashion collagist Valeriya Manasaryan

By /ART/
Photo

manasaryanv.portfoliobox.net

artist of the week: fashion collagist Valeriya Manasaryan
From an early age I spent more time with scissors and a glue stick in
my hands than with pencils. Vivid pictures on cereals boxes and gummy
bears caused my genuine interest and admiration. So all meals I ate
turned into a fun game, during which I created unimaginable stories and
new characters. Over time, my interest has shifted towards glossy
magazines, piles of which I found on bookshelves in my parents house.

PARIS 

Calder-Picasso / Musée national Picasso-Paris

Until August, 25

What do Pablo Picasso and Alexander Calder have in common? The most obvious answer might be: they both were striking artists and contemporaries. The current exhibition examines however a more profound resemblance — the Franco-Spanish painter and the American architect had a genuine interest for different dimensions what made them explore space and find new ways to interact with it. Whereas Calder’s pre-kinetic sculptures are full of a scientist’s curiosity and intellectual power, Picasso’s works are introspective and self-expressive at once. 120 works altogether of the two geniuses of the 20th century (shake, but don’t stir, please) are certainly something worth seeing in the city of (art) lovers.

What else to see: Berthe Morisot: Female Impressionist at The Musée d’Orsay; Bernard Frieze. Without Remorse at the Centre Pompidou

I remember appreciating the days when my mother allowed me to take
a couple of old, already forgotten editions as if it were a holiday. I used
them all — various boxes, candy wrappers, old tickets, different labels.
I enjoyed turning “garbage“ into postcards and posters and hanging it on
the walls of my teenage room. By the way, the love for bright scraps did
not disappear while studying at art school and university. However, it was
the manual graphics that identified my student artworks, making them
look different.

What else to see: Summer of love: art, fashion, and rock and roll at the Palais Populaire; Gustave Caillebotte: Painter and Patron of Impressionism at the Alte Nationalgalerie

For me collage is not only a hobby, but also a way to make a living, which allows me to meet new interesting people, collaborate with artists, magazines and photographers. I am 21 years old now.

What else to see: Summer of love: art, fashion, and rock and roll at the Palais Populaire; Gustave Caillebotte: Painter and Patron of Impressionism at the Alte Nationalgalerie

You can already find a number of projects for some famous music groups
and publications for Harper’s Bazaar Russia in my portfolio, even though I
do not live in a big Russian city like Moscow or Saint Petersburg — I reside
in Rostov-on-Don. I learnt to find inspiration in everything, but still I am
really influenced by talented people, fashion and my own achievements.

September Digest: What’s On?

By /ART/
Text

Julia Kryshevich

Photo

Clemens Porikys

September Digest: What’s On?

It’s autumn finally, which means a brand-new season for the world of arts. If you saw a number of exhibitions within the three summer months and frankly got tired of it, you might like taking a short break… visiting an art fair! International art fairs usually come as major events with a great diversity of works presented, intense parallel programs and interesting acquaintances. Whether you are a viewer or an art collector, you might find time spent here both nice and meaningful — either exploring new artists or selling artworks from your collection. Find out what city you’re flying next this September to see a gorgeous show:

Cosmoscow

September 6 – 8, 2019

Gostiny Dvor (Ilyinka Street, 4, Moscow)

The Cosmoscow International Art Fair has been held annually in September since 2014. The location is Gostiny Dvor — a major exhibition hall in the heart of Moscow (just overlooking Red Square). This year Cosmoscow is going to expose works by around 200 contemporary artists from all over the world, who all together represent a few dozen of galleries. Probably the best-known contemporary art fair in Russia has various art patrons (famous brands, charitable foundations) who provide young promising artists with prizes, sponsor curator talks as well as an education program — the schedule of the art fair is full of interesting events. The art world professionals and the cream of society enjoy coming here, so plan to visit Cosmoscow, if you are in the capital of Russia and want to have a wonderful time.

Find out the announced program and a link for tickets: https://www.cosmoscow.com/en/
Cosmoscow enjoys introducing its galleries & artists to the visitors:
https://m.facebook.com/cosmoscowfair/

Art Berlin 

September 12 – 15, 2019

Tempelhof airport, Berlin (Tempelhofer Damm, 45)

A part of the Berlin Art Week, the third edition of the fair is going to introduce more than 110 participants — galleries from European and US art capitals such as Berlin, Paris, London, Zurich, Vienna, Los Angeles (the opening day for galleries is September 13). Coming a day earlier, you will probably take a chance to see the Joinery Video Program and a performance program presented by artists, what might be sufficient for emotionally-sensual perception of the exhibition. Still want to know more about the artworks? Art Berlin is glad to offer its visitors some guided tours of the fair both for adults and children.

More information & tickets: https://www.artberlinfair.com
Additional links: https://m.facebook.com/artberlinfair/ https://www.instagram.com/artberlinfair/

Big Art 

September 12 – 15, 2019

Hembrugterrein — De Projekt Fabriek, Amsterdam (Middenweg, 63)

The name of the fair fully conveys its concept — the artworks presented there are promising to be just huge! More than 70 XL-sized (if not bigger) art objects including sculpture, paintings, photos, installations, video works by contemporary artists and designers will occupy the Hembrugterrein industrial district for 4 days. It’s very Amsterdam-like, by the way: you can get to the fair either per bike or ferry and the parking zone is free. The photos from the previous Big Art editions are so impressing that speak for themselves, however, since there are some questions left, you can write directly to info@bigart.nu. The exhibition is on show and it’s for sale — don’t forget that all works can be purchased. Children go free of charge.

Big Art website: https://bigart.nu
Beautiful pictures and latest news about the fair:
https://m.facebook.com/bigart.nu/

Art International Zurich 

September 26 – 29, 2019

Giessereihalle Puls 5, Zürich (Giessereistrasse 18)

The 21st edition of the Art International Zurich will probably finish the September season of art fairs and this is going to be bright. Many Swiss galleries come as participants of the show but not only — a lot of foreign members (UK, Germany, France, Spain, South Korea, Japan) are on the list. The artworks presented vary from ink on linen and oil on canvas to digital installations and porcelain objects. Whereas there are more than two weeks left before this year edition starts, art collectors are already invited to send their applications for 2020. By the way, the Art International Zurich provides its exhibitors with refund of VAT and assistance for marketing activities (look for some detailed information on the website).

Catalog of the previous year, press release and much more:
Follow #artzurich: https://m.facebook.com/artzurich
https://www.instagram.com/swissartfairs/

La Biennale Paris 

September 13 – 17, 2019

Grand Palais, Paris (Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008)

If your cultural interests are not limited to contemporary art only, you should certainly visit La Biennale Paris. The Universelle Art Fair (what they call themselves) suggests a view over the 6,000 years of art history, ranging from ancient times to the most recent years. Located in the famous Grand Palais for a few days, La Biennale Paris promises its visitors a careful selection of artworks and guarantees its collectors “the highest level of authenticity, trust and transparency” in the case of participation. Regardless of your purpose and intentions, you will probably enjoy the spectacular event under the glass roof of Palais. By the way, La Biennale Paris is held for the 31st time this year — no anniversary but still a big date, so join the festivities coming to the Gala Dinner on September 11 and the Private Opening on September 12.

La Biennale Paris website: https://www.labiennaleparis.com/en/about-us
Additional links: https://m.facebook.com/LaBiennaleParis/
https://www.instagram.com/labiennaleparis/

Top Art Exhibitions in August: What Is Really Worth Seeing

By /ART/
Text

Julia Kryshevich

Top Art Exhibitions in August: What Is Really Worth Seeing

Summer is coming to an end — it’s time to harvest! Some rich in flavor exhibitions are waiting for your evaluation. So better have it both ways — savoring the best fruits of the artistic heritage and visiting the most beautiful European art capitals at once. Below is something not to miss this August in the world of arts:

LONDON

Cindy Sherman / National Portrait Gallery

Until September, 15

Having counted Cindy Sherman among the 15 greatest female artists once, we at Purplehaze just can’t keep our eyes off her art. Sherman’s famous quote I’m disgusted with how people get themselves to look beautiful fully reflects the artistic motif by creating her self-portrait photographic series (which is a living legend today). Sherman doesn’t mind being put in other women shoes (at least, for the sake of art) — she inhabits media female characters, making them sound even shriller and more ridiculous, thus exposing their artifice. Around 150 works from both public and private collections give a viewer a spectacular glance over Sherman’s work starting from the mid-70s, including those that were hardly ever exhibited. Her latest work Flappers is also on show.

What else to see: Lee Krasner: Living Colour at the Barbican Centre; Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life at Tate Modern

PARIS 

Calder-Picasso / Musée national Picasso-Paris

Until August, 25

What do Pablo Picasso and Alexander Calder have in common? The most obvious answer might be: they both were striking artists and contemporaries. The current exhibition examines however a more profound resemblance — the Franco-Spanish painter and the American architect had a genuine interest for different dimensions what made them explore space and find new ways to interact with it. Whereas Calder’s pre-kinetic sculptures are full of a scientist’s curiosity and intellectual power, Picasso’s works are introspective and self-expressive at once. 120 works altogether of the two geniuses of the 20th century (shake, but don’t stir, please) are certainly something worth seeing in the city of (art) lovers.

What else to see: Berthe Morisot: Female Impressionist at The Musée d’Orsay; Bernard Frieze. Without Remorse at the Centre Pompidou

BERLIN 

Emil Nolde. A German Legend / Hamburger Bahnhof — Museum für Gegenwart

Until September, 15 

A loyal member of the NSDAP and a representative of the Degenerate Art movement at once, is it possible? Yes, Emil Nolde shared the views of the notorious far right party till the last, while his art finally became a victim of the regime. The exhibition features more than 100 expressionist works by Emil Nolde, including those that have never been presented before. Considered to be degenerate at the time, Nolde’s art seeks to be reinterpreted today within the context of the artist’s written memoir left to be disclosed. Emil Nolde. A German Legend promises to be interesting from both artistic and historical points of view, giving a better understanding of Nolde’s personality as a genius and a man.

What else to see: Summer of love: art, fashion, and rock and roll at the Palais Populaire; Gustave Caillebotte: Painter and Patron of Impressionism at the Alte Nationalgalerie

VIENNA 

Vertigo. Op Art and a History of Deception 1520-1970 / mumok

Until October, 26 

There is hardly a person in the modern world that hasn’t heard of pop art. Unfortunately, the op art movement couldn’t claim the same — many good things haven’t been said about the art of optical illusions and it’s high time curators took care of that. Playing with our sense of sight, optical works (paintings, installations, films or computer generated art) draw us into delusions… and we seem to be asking for this! Though looking simple, this kind of art is a skillful game. And the best way to realize it is to subject yourself to its gorgeous vertigo, go, go effect. Better do it with mumok, coming to see a largest retrospective of the op art history there.

What else to see: Albrecht Dürer at the Albertina; Vienna Biennale for Change 2019 (various venues)

MOSCOW 

Shchukin. Biography of a Collection / The Pushkin State Museum
of Fine Arts (Main Building);

Until September, 15 

Occupying almost the whole space of the Museum, the new large-scale exhibition features paintings and sculptures from the private collection of the famous Russian arts patron Sergei Shchukin as well as his brothers Pyotr, Dmitry, and Ivan. The variety of masterpieces by such artists as Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso together with some archival materials (more than 450 items, in total) offers the viewer an extensive view over the history of Modernist art starting from the late 19th century. It’s also worth mentioning that artworks have been reunited after a long separation — over the previous century paintings from the Shchukin Collection were exhibited at different venues in Moscow, Saint Petersburg and even Paris.

What else to see: Collection of Fondation Louis Vuitton: Selected Works at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts (Department of 19th and 20th Century European and American Art); Jaume Plensa at MMOMA

VENICE 

The 58th Venice Biennale / Giardini, Corderie, Arsenale

Until November, 24

Yes, one of the most exciting art shows of the year is still on the air — curated by Ralph Rugoff it runs under a gripping title May You Live In Interesting Times. What is certain about the 58th edition of the Biennale, it’s all about uncertainty, crisis, turning points in the history of arts and just civilization. For the record, la Biennale di Venezia dates back to far 1895. The event consists of different sectors such as Arts, Architecture, Cinema, Dance, Music, and Theatre and takes place at various exhibition spaces at a time. Don’t forget to check the website, in order to see the program and buy tickets in advance.

What else to see: Jannis Kounellis (curated by Germano Celant) at the Fondazione Prada Venezia; Baselitz – Academy at the Gallerie dell’Accademia

A visual artist KRISTINA OKAN „SECRET GARDEN“ Art Exhibition 18 MARCH – 13 JUNE at GALERIA BRUKOWA

By /ART/
Text

Marcos Rodriguez Velo

A visual artist KRISTINA OKAN «SECRET GARDEN» Art Exhibition 18 MARCH — 13 JUNE at GALERIA BRUKOWA

Art Exhibition 18 MARCH – 13 JUNE at GALERIA BRUKOWA

SECRET GARDEN
Exhibition by KRISTINA OKAN an award nominated international visual artist
Curated by Irina Rusinovich

Berlin, Germany —“SECRET GARDEN“, is a new exhibition by Russian born visual artist KRISTINA OKAN. The opening reception is scheduled to take place on WEDNESDAY the 18th of MARCH starting at 7:.00 pm at the GALERIA BRUKOWA, Lodz, POLAND. The art exhibition features artist’s ceramic, drawing and graphic works and will be on display until 13 June.

Kristina Okan is an award nominated international visual artist, born in Russia in 1991. Lives and works in Berlin and Moscow. Kristina obtained her Master of Arts Degree from Stroganov`s Academy of Industrial and Applied Arts in Moscow. Her art links include exhibitions and awards across Europe and Asia, including the UK, Italy, Greece, Germany, China. In her ceramic works, she uses mainly porcelain clay preserving the whiteness and purity of the material focusing on the sense of texture, translucent and opaque effect of the surface, while her drawings and graphic artworks conjoin the complexity of color interaction and transparency.

KRISTINA OKAN, the artist: “The language of abstract geometric forms in visual art is expressive and thought-provoking. In my artworks I challenge the viewer to find their own meaning, wake up feelings and emotions, associations and fantasies, which are more covert, carrying some secret and mystery. I see artwork not just as an object with concept behind–at first, it is a communication of a particular object with a particular viewer. Their private dialogue.
Inspired by Renaissance traditional still lives with theirs visual relish of objects I create sensual biomorphic shapes based on repetitive and fractal modules.

My ceramic works are made mainly of porcelain because of its unexampled and unique qualities as a clay body: its subtlety and fragility. Smooth surface quality refers to something mysterious which intrigues me. This special material is able to give you the sense of texture due to its pure whiteness, astonishing translucence and ability to take on fine details.

Contact info CURATOR : Irina Rusinovich Phone: +491746127171