The work of Alina Kunitsyna rests on the edge between abstraction and representation. Depicting human figures obscured by garments who never show themselves to the viewer, she creates the area of tension between body, form and envelope. Sharing her personal fascination with people, Kunitsyna explores the ways in which we can simultaneously conceal and express our inward nature. While her subjects are somewhat mysterious, they indicate their inner worlds by the expressions of their outer shells. Her latest body of work will soon be on view at Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer in an exhibition titled In the Fold. The title at the same time refers to the fold depicted as an object and to the representation of faith, love and peace, on the artist’s own subjective semantic level.
The works of Alina Kunitsyna are essentially about people and how they can express something through concealment and the associated abstraction, so that the viewer gets a certain inner image via form, structure and fold without actually seeing someone and their portrait. Although concealed, the very essence of her subjects is indicated by a variety of visual cues. For example, their posturing is suggested through the wrinkles and folds of their fabric encasing, while colors and patterns evoke certain emotions or circumstances. In this way, these works constitute knowledge. The artist further solidifies it into a form by way of different techniques, drawn from philosophical thought in the fields of logic, ethics, and metaphysics.
Captivating the audience by their formal precision, Kunitsyna’s compositions create tension between the body and space. The highlight of the exhibition is certainly the impressive piece Dance of Gentleness, depicting three figures, covered in blue. Seemingly floating in space in circular motions, they appear as if they are interacting without words and effort, completely conveying the feeling of gentleness. A milestone in the artist’s career, this work perfectly embodies her quest for an adequate pictorial expression of a subject or an event – in its absence. As a reminder of the absent body, their deserted shells serve as a metaphor for the protective membrane between the internal and the external world. Or as Silvie Aigner explains:
The question concerning the persons, who... have undoubtedly shaped these clothes... materializes itself in the allusion to their absence.
Searching for ways to get at the very essence of the characters and objects she portrays, Alina Kunitsyna creates a dynamic intertwining of thought and meaning that goes far beyond just a simple representation. The exhibition In the Fold will be on view at Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer in Vienna from October 18th until November 18th, 2017. Due to a water damage, the gallery will move the exhibition to Schlossgasse 14, 1050 Vienna. The preview will be organized on October 17th, from 7 p.m. Alina Kunitsyna’s new catalog In The Fold, recently published at the Verlag für moderne Kunst (VfmK), Vienna 2017, will be presented at the opening of the exhibition.
Featured image: Alina Kunitsyna - Only Lovers Left Alive (detail). All images courtesy of Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer.