Aleksandra Domanović: Votives
23 March – 11 June 2017
Release date: Wednesday, 18 January 2017
The Henry Moore Institute’s 2017 sculpture commission presents new sculpture by Berlin-based artist Aleksandra Domanović (b. 1981) responding directly to the Institute's building. Alongside a major new sculpture, Votives brings together a series of existing works that take their cue from classical Greek votive statues.
Aleksandra Domanović, 'Votive: Hare' (2016, laser sintered PA plastic, polyurethane, Soft-Touch, aluminum and Kevlar-carbon fiber coating, Corian and foam) Private collection. Image courtesy the artist
Aleksandra Domanović, 'Votive: Hare' (2016, laser sintered PA plastic, polyurethane, Soft-Touch, aluminum and Kevlar-carbon fiber coating, Corian and foam)
Private collection. Image courtesy the artist
Domanović's research-led practice consistently explores technological developments, often looking to former Yugoslavia, her country of birth. For Domanović, technology is always gendered and always rooted in the society that creates it. In her film ‘Turbo Sculpture’ (2010-13), for example, she interrogates the recent phenomenon of public sculpture in former Yugoslavia dedicated to non-national media celebrities, such as Bruce Lee, Bob Marley and Tupac Shakur.
Domanović is interested in making sculpture portable: her Paper Stack (2010-ongoing) series of sculptures are monolithic vertical monuments made of piles of A4 paper that travel by PDF and are printed from an inkjet machine. By printing only on the very edge of the paper, images are formed on each side of the sculpture through the accumulation of stacked sheets of paper. Sourced from the internet, the subjects of these images vary from football controversies to the ruins of seaside holiday resorts in former Yugoslavia. Juxtaposition between permanence and ephemerality is key in these works, as she explores how we engage with the proliferation of images that surrounds us in our digital society. While as easy to move as a file transfer, in the Paper Stacks time and labour are key: printers jam, toners fade, and stacking over one thousand pieces of paper is no easy task.
Domanović has recently been creating life-size Votives. These works are of both the past and the future, combining classical Greek sculpture with a cyborg aesthetic. While the form of these sculptures has similarities with Kourai – traditional Greek monumental statues – they are produced using a 3D-printer and the most contemporary sculptural materials. Human sized, in each, robotic arms hold votive objects such as animals and fruit, while on the reverse cut-out sections provide a home for the arms when the work travels. These arms are modelled on the ’Belgrade Hand’, one of the first artificial hands created with a sense of touch invented in 1963 by the Serbian scientist Rajko Tomović at the University of Belgrade responding to the limb loss of soldiers in the aftermath of the Second World War. It was designed with a very simple automatic control mechanism: as soon as its fingertip came into contact with an object it would automatically close.
Votives opens with a gallery that emulates a sanctuary road leading to a temple. Six Votives and six Paper Stacks sitting on stone pedestals guide visitors to a newly commissioned scaled-up ‘Votive’. More than four metres tall, it draws on the ancient Greek sculpture Moscophoros and Domanović's recent research into evolutionary biology. Moscophouros is a statue of a cow-bearer found in fragments in the Acropolis of Athens, built as a votive offering to the goddess Athena. The artist folds this classical sculptural history into her interest in the selective breeding of bulls to produce animals with no horns - a process the biologist Kevin Esvelt calls ‘evolutionary sculpture'.
Notes to editors:
Aleksandra Domanović was born in Novi Sad, former Yugoslavia and studied at University of Applied Arts, Vienna. Recent solo exhibitions include Bulls Without Horns (2016), Tanya Leighton Gallery Berlin and Aleksandra Domanović: Mother of This Domain (2015), Plug In ICA, Winnipeg. She lives and works in Berlin.
In 2006 Domanović co-founded the website vvwork with Oliver Laric, Christoph Priglinger and Georg Schnitzer. In operation until 2012, this experimental online platform for artistic research is one of the most significant digital resources of its era, with more than 20,000 visits per day. This research project led project developed into Domanović’s study of sculpture and technology, which is the focus of our exhibition.
Aleksandra Domanović: Votives is curated by Lisa Le Feuvre, Head of Sculpture Studies at the Henry Moore Institute, with Dr. Leanne Green, Curatorial Coordinator of the Henry Moore Institute.
From 25 May Aleksandra Domanović: Votives will be accompanied by Ghisha Koenig: Machines Restrict their Movement. This focused exhibition presents works by figurative sculptor Ghisha Koenig (1921-1993). Koenig dedicated her artistic career to studying and sculpting modern factory labour in Britain, which she observed in situ.
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