Victoria Alexandrova aka VikaValter is a multimedia artist born in Kamchatka, 1982. Her current exhibition, Red Line is a collection of works in varying mediums united by the self-reflection of the artist. Self-portrait is a theme that’s often explored by VikaValker, and, although it’s usually prevalent in her photography, this time it stretches across her other works. Dark tones dominate the collection with contrasting glow deep reds. The delicate confronts the brute, the dark meets the light, and the feminine mutates into the masculine. The works call for intimacy with the artist, summoning the viewers through their own perception and interpretation of the visuals. Aside from the different mediums, the style is unrestricted. Its palette and the artist’s imagery of self is the connection line of this collection.
Azucar: First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself and your work. How did your become interested in art?
VV: I wouldn’t say that I became an artist; I guess I was born an artist because I’ve got an internal urge to do art. Sometimes it expresses itself, sometimes it takes ten years to do something but it’s always present. It’s something I didn’t ask for, many people say that is a God’s gift. I don’t know if God exists but it’s still a gift, which I didn’t ask for but I got it. That’s why I think that’s my duty to get it outside of my internal world.
Azucar: How did you current exhibition “Red Line” come about? How did all this happen?
VV: It’s actually quite interesting. Just today I was thinking about how everything falls into a place, you know. I had the idea about a year or two ago that it’s time to make an exhibition. I was talking with my Finnish friend about how I’m always doing something about myself, that’s always self-reflective and so on. I like to use many different mediums (it’s not always fixed in painting or sculpture) but the final works are somehow united. And suddenly she said: “Well, this is really like some sort of a plot or even a story line. In Finnish “Punainen lanka” roughly translates to a”red thread (line)”, a common theme, which in this case is the self-reflection.
I had a wish last year to have an exhibition by the end of this year. I started making paintings and checking out galleries but I wasn’t very convinced about the options. Then I just continued doing art, building up a collection of works because I had already the idea about it the whole theme, so I was just preparing material. Things weren’t much foreseen at the beginning of this year. It’s some sort of an intuitive creating process, you wish something and at the back of your head you are already processing. Then it just happened, I met the owner of Cuore di Vetro a year ago for the first time, later this year we had a chance to introduce ourselves better so I told him about what I was doing, and he told me that actually his space uses to exhibit art and that he would like to have my artwork exhibited there too. So that happened almost on its own and I didn’t have to over-plan that much. I’m a strong believer and a wishful thinker that when you really want something, things will happen in their due time.
Azucar: Which mediums do you normally use? In what way do you think these fields connect?
VV: Well, for a long time I was only taking photos. My main interest is portrait photography with a strong concept and a lot of dark humour. I use myself very often as a model, not only because of vanity, but also because I find it very easy to work with myself: I don’t have to explain what I want and I don’t have to confuse people with my instructions. Sometimes I’m not sure about what I want right away so it is in the middle of the process when I might redefine the original idea or completely change it. I’m actually not always very comfortable to work with other people. That is also why I prefer using myself as a model. For a long time I was doing photography but it’s painting that I need to do, it’s very meditative. I can have different projects running at the same time, just like I can be reading different books at the same time. I like realism, that is what gives me kicks. Reaching realistic detail and developing skills for me is a source of an obsessive pleasure; for that obviously you need a good reference picture, and I take all the reference pictures myself. The composition of the painting itself is mostly done during the photo-shoot planning or during post-processing, then maybe later on it continues to develop on the canvas as well, but mostly it is already composed before the painting. So actually what I’m doing is copying my photos.
So all the works here are bound together with the idea of a red line. The palette is very dark, there is a lot of red, black and porcelain pale tones. It’s not the most cheerful but it doesn’t mean that it’s a product of depression. I just love this palette, also for my outfits.
Azucar: Tell us what’s characteristic from your style?
VV: I guess the bold colours, the bold combination of the colours: black on red, some white. I like everything centred. I noticed that golden ratio is often absent in my works, everything is centred and I love square format too. The composition has to be centred. The combination of the bold primary colours coming out together in a composition balancing at the centre.
Azucar: Why is often Self-Portrait a theme in your work? What does a Self-Portrait mean to you?
VV: It’s very usual for the artists to make self-portraits. After all deep inside we know ourselves better than anybody else around. We measure others by our standards, by our believes and our views. I enjoy spending time on my own and I have lots of fun. I think it’s not always needed to rely on satisfaction coming from outside but it’s also possible to be self-sufficient to be able to enjoy.
Azucar: Your work seems very personal and intimate, is that how you experience it, or do you keep a clear distance between your work and your life?
VV: No, I mean I keep my personal life away from social media. I do post a lot (pictures of my dog) and I might come out as one lonely woman in Berlin for some, but I do like to talk a lot so it’s my way of keeping on talking electronically as well. On other hand my work is personal because it is me and it changes its mood with me. Now it’s Red Line, but I have already started a new painting, that isn’t that dark anymore, obviously still quite dark: it is not going to be flowers or green lush foliage or landscape, but it’s already getting in a better mood, I would say it’s a different life situation.
Azucar: What do you want to communicate with your work?
VV: Hopefully tenderness even in this brute combination of colours, because I’m quite “punk rock”, but I still want to give people gentleness. I’m not painting war or suffering, it might be a little bit dark or explosive but it’s just a colour. It’s not going to be physical suffering or anxiety which is nowadays’ hysteria, I guess. I don’t want to bring more cruelty with my work that is already enough here. I want that my works are pleasing to the eye, are appealing, pretty and beautiful. There is plenty of ugly so that’s why I try to do visually appealing stuff and transmit stillness.
Azucar: Do you have something on mind you would like to do with art that you haven’t done yet?
VV: I have many ideas that still have to come to life. There is like a little black notebook in my head that has many concepts for the projects for which I don’t have skills or resources yet, for example metal work. I’m always interested in new mediums; I’m also learning everything on my own and like trying out new things. Glass work is also something I’ve always I wanted to do. I started working with wood this year. There are many ideas that I have for many years as a concept until it’s an appropriate moment to realize them in life.
Obviously, oil painting is my everlasting love but it doesn’t stop me from trying out new techniques. I want to go really big with some installations; I have some concepts for works involving people so again it’s going to be something unique. I would like people to experience something on their own in a beautiful and comfortable environment I build, having 10-20 minutes of time of the joy.