Aleksandra Ska, a Polish artist currently living in New York City as an artist-in-residence at Triangle in Dumbo, presents a challenging oeuvre of visual work that traverses the boundaries between feminist critique, social commentary and pure whimsical fun. Her works include all media such as sculpture, performance, and objects, which she gives new meaning by using them unexpectedly and with an exceptionally unique aesthetic. She is interested in the problematic of gender and demonstrating the feminist position.
She uses performance and video in her work as well. Her pieces invite interaction and participation with the audience. For example, a new project called “Object in Possession” challenges the audience to negotiate the boundaries of touching within an immersive sculptural installation. This “push/pull” sensibility informs another one of her performances, “OAA,” from 2012. In many of her pieces we can see a strong approach for the feminist voice and an extraordinary ability to switch visual modes. She is adept at creating performances in which she uses sexuality as a weapon. It is almost as if she wishes to compose situations that expose what it feels like to be a woman artist in the art world—for example, there is a pressure to treat yourself as an object, while at the same time trying hard not to play into traditional stereotypes of femaleness.
She approaches the topic of beauty with a critical gaze. In her work, she goes deep (literally) and shows that beauty does not reside on the surface of things. For example, she exhibited an especially strong video performance called “unproductive” wherein she drilled into all her teeth with dental equipment, a demonstrative critique of the health and beauty of this time. This disquieting gesture provokes a disturbing anxiety with its twisted fetish like sexuality. Going to the dentist will never be the same.
In her work, she goes deep (literally) and shows that beauty is not in the surface. For example, an especially strong performance that she exhibited was the video performance called “unproductive” when she drilled into all her teeth with dental equipment, a demonstrative critique of the health and beauty of this time. This disquieting gesture provokes a disturbing anxiety with its twisted fetish like sexuality. Going to the dentist will never be the same.
The future is certainly bright for Aleksandra Ska, an artist who rattles the borders of traditional thinking. As a result of transforming common objects into vessels for deeper introspection, she demolishes moribund rituals and myths about society and gender along the way.
Aleksandra Ska graduated from the Strzemiński Academy of Art in Łódź (the Faculty of Textile and Fashion), lives in Poznań and works at the Szczecin Academy of Art at The Departament of New Media. Author of installations, objects and videos.
I work with objects, recently I’ve started working also with different media, like video and video installation. I’m interested in expanding the notion of sculpture – especially reopening it to video influence. My recent project “The object in possession” raises the question of touch and haptic perception also in reference to Constantin Brâncuşi whose works can be found in American collections, among others in MoMA, NY and National Gallery of Art, Washington. I am going to deepen research on his work and its reception in the very centre of modern art. My question is what role does a touch play in our experience of sculpture? The first point to stimulate me to explore this subject is a fact that touching art pieces is definitively prohibited by most museums and galleries as illicit behavior in relation to art. In this situation we see everywhere „Do Not Touch”. As a result, my study on tradition of contemporary sculpture refers especially to Constantin Brâncuşi’s works and American Minimalism. I would like to break conventional process of recognizing tradition of sculpture and move it on another area. My project needs more research, exploration and new inspirations. New York is the only place where I can continue and finish it. My residency would allow me as well to make a research visiting gorgeous New York museums’ collections and libraries as to get to know a new culture and American young art scene and to wider my horizons. The result of my residency would be a multimedia project analyzing the issue of sculpture and of touch as thin border between an object and a subject.
Ska’s art is related to the subconscious and sexuality. She is interested in corporeality presented through forms of body impression. Her creative activity is always associated to elegance, splendor and sensuality. However, Ska introduces to her installations disturbing elements that come from the subconscious and dreams, and evoke anxiety or apprehension.
Sometimes art works of Ska are linked to another sense, to the sense of taste, which was in case of a video Fat Love, the projection of which took place in one of the butcher stands in Poznań. The artist treats fetishism as something that seduces, tempts and attracts, not only in visual sense, but more likely in haptic way.
Ska’s art works were presented among others at: Hot/Cold – Summer Loving, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warszawa (2006), Mediations Biennale, Voyage Sentimental, National Museum in Poznań (2008), Collection of Art of the 20th and 21st Centuries. Behind the Reality Principle, Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź (2008) and The Summer of Youth. Young People in Contemporary Art, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warszawa (2010). In 2007 she was rewarded with Grand Prix at Przeciąg Festival, in 2011 she was Młoda Sztuka award winner of Głos Wielkopolski in the field of visual arts. Ministry of Culture and National Heritage scholarship holder in 2000, 2007 and 2011. In 2013 she was invited for an art residency in New York for one person from The Visegrad Group.
2013 Wunderkammer, Forum Factory, Berlin, Germany; Supermarket 2013 – Stockholm Independent Art Fair, Sweden; Don’t worry be happy, Zona Gallery, Szczecin, Poland; Decada, Piekary Gallery, Poznan, Poland; Art Must Be Beautiful, Spectra Art Space, Warsaw, Poland;
2012 Corespondence. Modern Art an a Universalism, Muzeum Sztuki, lodz, Poland; Object in Possession, Art Space, Poznan, Poland, (indywidual); Sztuka Raz, Aleksandra Ska/Natalia LL, Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz, Poland; The Festival of Video Art, Manhattan Gallery, Lodz, Poland; Exceptional State of Media, Center of Art, El Gallery, Elblag, Poland; Exceptional State of Media, National Muzeum of Art, Szczecin, Poland; Direct links, Meeting with Aleksandra Ska, OD Nowa Club, Toruń, Poland; Phenomenon Wealth, Riesa Efau, Kultur Forum, Motorenhalle, Dresden, Germany; Thriller, Gallery Wieża Ciśnień, Konin, Leszno, Poland; Flowers, pansies and daisies, Exchange Gallery, Lodz, Poland;
2011 Parakino, Polish Feminist Cinema, Centre for Contemporary Art, Gdańsk, Poland; 14th Media Art Biennale WRO 2011: Alternative Now, Wroclaw, Poland; ARTVILNIUS’11, Wilnus, Lithuania; Unproductive, ZONA art gallery, Lodz, Poland, (indywidual); Thiller, BWA, Wroclaw, Poland; Nothing is eternally important, Works from the Regional Zacheta Contemporary, Art Collection Szczecin CoCArt, CSW Centre, Torun, Poland; rt that nobody saw, Leto Gallery, Warsaw, Poland; Art and the Everyday, Egon Schiele Art Centrum, Ceski Krumlov, Czech Rebublic;
2010 SKA, 13 Sphere Gallery, Szczecin, Poland, (indywidual); Coexistence, Tembi Contemporary, Jakarta, Indonesia; KITCHEN DYNAMITE, Office d’art contemporain, Brussels, Belgium, (indywidual); The Summer of Youth. Young People in Contemporary Art, Zacheta, National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland; 10 days with Neoawangards, Koszalin, Poland; Spores, Collection of art Zacheta in Szczecin, [OXYGEN],Szczecin, Poland; The Belly of Atlas, Atlas Sztuki, Lodz, Poland; At the border line of Academy, Orońsko, Poland; 4th IN OUT Festival 2010, Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art, Gdansk, Poland; Artesantander, Art Fair, 2010, Spain;
2009 Epidemic. The Cultural Image of a Disease, ZONA art gallery, Lodz, Poland; Siedmiokilowa kura, WOZOWNIA Art Gallery, Torun, Poland, (indywidual); CHUDO, Exchange Gallery, Lodz, Poland, (indywidual); At the border line of Academy, Gorzow Wielkopolski, Poland; ARTVILNIUS’09, Wilnus, Lithuania; Slick Contemporary Art Fair, Paris, France; Objects In Mirrow Are Closer Than They Appear, Piekary Gallery, Poznań, Poland, Poland, (indywidual); Urban Legends, Festival of art, Poznań, Poland;
2008 International Festival of Visual Art – Inspirations ”Sacrum” “Beyond good and evil”, The Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle, Szczecin, Poland; Collection of art of the 20th and 21st centuries, National Museum of Lodz, Poland; “Neuer Blick”. Junge polnische Kunst aus der Galerie Piekary, Polnisches Institut Wien, Vienna, Austria; Mediation Biennale, Voyage Sentimental, National Museum of Poznan, Poznan, Poland; The Desiring Machines, ZONA art gallery, Lodz, Poland; Shifting Identity Visual Produktion Space, Beijing, China; Berliner liste, Fair For Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany; Asian gates, Kunsthalle Faust, Hannover, Germany; At the border line of the Academy, El Gallery, Art Centre, Elblag, Poland;
2007 17 mgnien wiosny, National Art Gallery, Sopot, Poland; Nowy podzial pracy: niematerialna versus niewolnicza, Osterreichisches, Kulturforum, Warsaw, Poland; Vienna Fair, Vienna, Austria; Lilit, Gallery Program, Warsaw, Poland; Św. Bernadetta, Gallery Program, Warsaw, Poland , National Art Gallery, Wroclaw, Poland; TATUTITA, Nowy Wiek Gallery, Museum of Ziemia lubuska, Zielona Gora, Poland, (indywidual); Berliner Liste 2007, Berlin, Germany; Objecthood, Hardcore Art Contemporary Space Galery, Miami, U.S.A;
2006 Mlodz – Identification, Gallery BWA, Bielsko-Biala; National Art Gallery Arsenal, Poznan; Wozownia Gallery, Torun, Poland; JEJ PORTRET nie- WIERNY, Manhattan Gallery, Lodz, Poland; Grünewald 2, Art Center, Lodz, Poland; L.H.O.O.Q., Gallery Piekary, Poznan, Poland; Hot/Cold – Summer Love, National Art Gallery Zacheta, Warsaw, Poland; Spinka, Gallery Piekary, Poznan, Poland, (indywidual);
2005 Mlodz – Identification, National Art Gallery Lodz, Poland; K ＋ S ＝ [ 1 ‡ ∀ ], Photography and New Media Gallery, Gorzow, Poland; Ego, The Museum of History of Lodz, Poland; Gimnastyka zoladka, Baludzka Gallery , Lodz, Poland, (indywidual); Grünewald, Photography and New Media Gallery, Gorzow, Poland;
2004 Made in, Foire d’art contemporian de Strasbourg Start 2000, Strasbourg; Art Biennale, Swinoujscie, Poland; Euroart-Retransmission, National Museum, Szczecin, Poland; Untitled™, Young Triennale, 4 edition, Oronsko, Poland; W czterech scianach, Lodz Biennale, Poland;
2003 Globalne zauroczenie, Art Supermarket 4, Gallery DAP, Warsaw, Poland;
2002 Talente, International Competition in Crafts Design And Technology for Junior Craft Person, Monachium, Germany;
2000 Polyhydria and The Anatomy Lesson, Museum of Artistic Book, Lodz, Poland, (indywidual);
1999 Poza planem, Manhattan Gallery, Lodz, Poland;
Awards and distinctions
2011 Scholarship from Culture and National Heritage Ministry; Award for Young Art, founded by Glos Wielkopolski Newspaper, Poznan;
2007 Grand Prix, „Przeciag” (competition for young artists), Szczecin, Poland; Scholarship from Culture and National Heritage Ministry;
1999-2000 Scholarship from Culture and National Heritage Ministry;
1999 Award of the Lodz Province Governor in the 16th Wl. Strzeminski Contest; Award of the Yes Gallery in the 16th Wl. Strzeminski Contest; Grand Prix, International “Amberif” Fairs, Gdansk;
1998 Award of Culture and Art Departament of Lodz in the 15th Wl. Strzeminski Contest;
2011 Art and the Everyday, Egon Schiele Art Centrum, Visegrad Symposium, Ceski Krumlov, Czech Rebublic;
2013 Art residency in New York;