Alexandra Galkina

Alexandra Galkina (born 1982): Russian contemporary artist and curator. Member of Avdei Ter-Oganian’s School of Contemporary Art and the Radek group. Awarded the special prize of the Stella Art Foundation at the annual Innovation Awards in 2010.
Born: 1982, Moscow
Video Art

Artist, curator. Born in Moscow (1982). Participated in Avdei Ter-Oganian’s School of Contemporary Art (1997–98) and the actions of the Radek Community (2002–05). Awarded the special prize of the Stella Art Foundation at the annual Innovation Awards (2010). Lives and works in Moscow.

Alexandra Galkina’s works are distinguished by a set of features which can roughly be described as “feminist Suprematism.” Unlike the feminist abstract paintings of the 1970s, which symbolised the forms of the female body and only hinted at reality, Galkina’s works directly transmit reality. As feminist theorists have noted, the art of this movement is divided into two strands: “The first is orientated on abstraction, the second is occupied with the search for a specific feminine visual idiom – ‘feminist realism.’”

Alexandra Galkina’s works relate to each of these two fields, without fully belonging to either. Completely concrete objects of everyday life are concealed behind the mask of abstraction. If the feminist artists had two main themes – the female body (its forms and anatomy, its sexuality) and “traditional female occupations” (running the household, raising the children, the role of a wife) – the focus in Alexandra Galkina’s Suprematist compositions lies in the dividing area or layer between the sexual female body and the kitchen stove. In these series of drawings and paintings, the main objects of representation – clothes, underwear, cosmetics – are elements of “female culture” or, in the words of Martha Rosler, “the iconography of the female.”

Alexandra Galkina was a member of Radek – a now disbanded collective of young radical artists. Galkina expresses the group’s revolutionary spirit in abstract forms correlated to the realities of modern life. One of her most important projects is repressive “municipal graffiti,” documented by the artist on city streets. Graffiti as such is an independent statement by an individual in a public space. The arm of the law stubbornly paints over these free declarations with squares and patches of accidental colours. Galkina then photographs the compositions created by these censors.

One of Alexandra Galkina’s favourite media is the marker pen, which is often the favoured choice of the creators of prohibited statements on walls. A felt-tip pen is also a child’s instrument and it is in childhood that every person is an artist: during this period of life, everyone has the right and the desire to engage in creativity. The marker pen is the main tool of Galkina’s “democratic drawing.” It has been used to draw all the pictures created by Alexandra and her associates for the Megazine ( project – an internet shop with a wide assortment of goods, ranging from nails and furniture to sex toys and aids. The only difference is that this store does not offer actual goods – only drawings of them. These small works of art are accessible to one and all: their subject-matter is close to life. They can be seen not in a gallery, but on the internet, and each can be drawn.

The Drawing video shows the process of drawing with a marker pen, accompanied by its own unique soundtrack. Socialist artists believe that art can change the world. No matter how autistic and detached from life art might seem to many, they are convinced of its revolutionary potential. On the screen, hands draw a house with a flag on a piece of paper, followed by a fire in the house. They draw a car, then add holes from gunfire. Each small action is accompanied by a deafening sound. Drawing a line, the marker pen makes a scraping sound as if the whole world has been shaken to its foundations. When the gunshot holes are added, they sound like real gunfire. Galkina’s video is a pendant to the series of Scale canvases by David Ter-Oganian, who drew street demonstrations and riots on the pages of jotters, before magnifying them to the scale of large canvases. At one point, all revolutions were a project – but some of them really did take place.

Random articles