Guinea Pigs Also Bite Exhibition by Aleksandra at Daumenlutscher 13.09.2023
The infinite possibilities offered by the line are well understood when one speaks of perception. What our eyes and minds are able to put together with minimal information fascinates us and has been the subject of great study both in the arts and sciences. It is the first mark we all make as children when putting tool to paper and it is the shape that has allowed societies to develop languages and symbols. The line helps us describe spaces, landscapes, shapes, and objects. It connects point A to B and allows us to continue to C and then D –or back to A– and anywhere else we desire.
But can it express feelings? Can the line allow us to read memory and experience? Not by what it is able to describe, but by the very nuances and formal characteristics of the line itself? The arts have a history of exploring this practice and we must find the balance between what information we can infer by the line and our need for pure aesthetics. While the line is simple in its most basic form, it is infinitely complex through its possibilities.
In Guinea Pigs Also Bite, Berlin based artist Aleksandra presents a body of work years in the making in which the line describes events, moods, memories, and yes, spaces and objects specific to a life lived. A combination of art therapy and an innate and inescapable skill and need for mark making, her drawings are storytellers of phases in her life. Unplanned and unrepeated, with reds, blacks, blues, and yellows, they serve as both instruments of release and as record-keepers of the bizarre, the dark, the sad, and the uncanny but humorous moments of Aleksandra’s somewhat recent history.
Meticulously divided by year and experience, her drawings are grouped by specific moments and brilliantly titled to give only hints of what may lie behind them. Although, readers, beware of sarcasm and wit. Every drawing has a specific memory linked to it and the mark making and color choices imply a state of mind. The timeline presented begins with the death of a close family member, travels through different cities and countries, rests in moments of mental health crisis, advances through moments of mania, pet losses, and retells her relationships with strangers and lovers.
In Guinea Pigs Also Bite, Aleksandra allows us to be privy to a personal journey through the intimate experience of her line making while keeping a safe distance, one that surely must be respected. While the amount of work is vast, it is in looking at every single work individually that we can truly appreciate that Aleksandra does not take the line for granted. The works may be grouped by experiences and moments, but every single work stands on its own as a record of, not only the specific states of mind she was in at any given time, but the aesthetic choices made –not because of mark making exploration, but rather out of her need to mark-make.