Photo of the artist via ArtForum, photographer: Sarah Thornton
I recently learned about the art of Alexandra Bircken when she was featured as artist of the week by The Guardian. I’m intrigued by her sculptures with their organic shapes, combination of natural and manmade materials and the introduction of some crochet into the work.
More about crochet artist Alexandra Bircken
Alexandra Bircken is a German artist who studied fashion at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, which is one of the world’s top art schools. This background in fashion helped to give her a sense of draping and structure that an add an element of architectural appeal to her art. Her work has been shown in both solo and group shows in several countries, with shows each year since 2004.. This week wraps up an exhibition at London’s Studio Voltaire and she has upcoming solo exhibitions in 2012 in both Rotterdam and Hamburg.
More about Alexandra Bircken’s art
Bircken’s art is strongly rooted in an aesthetic that celebrates traditional crafts, the natural world and a feminine perspective on art. However, it is sculptural work that also incorporates manmade materials that strike a balance against the softer, natural side of the work. The Learning Curves blog explains the appealing contrast: “I really like the mixture of delicate and colourful crochet, natural elements and rude intrusions like cement, mouldering food and tea bags.”
And The Guardian explains in more detail: “On the one hand, Bircken’s new age-looking work is natural, rough-edged and visibly handmade: every weird stitch invites you to wonder at its making. But from the knitting to the bodily bulges, flora and food, it’s also unmistakably grounded in a traditionally female world. The handmade creations that seem to hail from a domestic realm are mixed up with materials more familiar from industry, such as cement, metal and mirrors. ”
Crochet in Bircken’s art
This piece, titled Birch Field, looks like it might be crochet. It’s definitely some type of needlework that has been stretched across the natural element of twigs. Something about this piece really appeals to me.
Bouquet, a 2005 work, is made from wool, concrete and aluminum. It looks to me like that wool has been crocheted. What do you think? I love the juxtaposition of soft and hard elements here.
This 2005 piece reminds me of the yarnbombing on trees that has become popular in recent years!
As you can kind of tell from the examples here, Bircken’s work seems to be shifting away from very colorful free-flowing pieces to more neutral, organized pieces (like the first one shown here). I am so curious to see what she does next, especially if it includes more crochet and knit work!