Who is Aliki Braine?
Aliki Braine is a contemporary artist born in Paris, 1976. Aliki lives and works in London.
The artist studied at The Ruskin School of Fine Art, Oxford University, The Slade School of Fine Art, London and The Courtauld Institute of Art, London
Aliki Braine is an associate lecturer for Camberwell College of Art, University of the Arts London and a regular lecturer for Christie’s Education, the Wallace Collection and the National Gallery
" There are two ways of thinking about photography: you either take photographs, or you make photographs."
Short intro text from the artist:
There are three main recurring concerns in my work; I am interested in exploring the physical nature of photography and engaging with photographs as objects, not just as images.
By cutting and rearranging, folding, drawing with ink, punching holes or overlaying my negatives with adhesive labels, I seek to acknowledge the photograph as an object and the image as a construct.
The subject of my work and of my images is the landscape and it's recurring motifs of water, sky and trees. Lastly, I want to highlight the debt photography owes to the history of western European painting and to conduct an informed conversation with historical images.
When did you find out you are an artist?
I’ve always enjoyed art… both making art and looking at it. I spent most of my childhood making things: doing crafts, modeling with fimo, building doll’s houses.
I wanted to be a sculptor and was always more interested in making objects than making pictures.
What is your relationship to Instagram?
I took a while to get onto any social media platforms and had to be persuaded to get an Instagram account.
I think that it is a great professional tool and probably much more useful to me than my website or other digital platforms.
How important has digitalization become for you in connection with your art practice?
My practice is photographic but very much engaged with analogue photography.
My images are made using celluloid film, medium format cameras and craft tools like hole punches and stickers.
Although I use digital photographs to document the work, the premise of my work is that it is physical, hand-made, and concerned with its physicality IRL!
Where, when, how do you work best?
Most of my work happens in distinct stages; a new body of work usually involves traveling to a specific landscape to find the motif, view or environment that I want to document.
I am usually after familiar views of landscapes, landscapes that are reminiscent of historical paintings, landscapes that are seemingly conventional or ideal.
Once the negative films are processed and developed, I interact with, deface or rearrange them in some way.
I use simple and playful processes; I cut the negatives using hole-punches, I fold them, I place stickers on them… although these are iconoclastic gestures the result is not aggressive or destructive but instead hopes to open up the image, making it my own, acknowledging my presence and making it more poetic.
The act of making the negatives is not a lengthy or time consuming one but sometimes it takes years to figure out exactly what needs to be done to a set of images to create a new body of work.
Where, how do you usually get inspired?
The catalyst for my work is usually historical painting, my practice seeks to be in conversation with images from a time before photography.
I earn my living as an art historian, teaching for historical collections and find endless inspiration from the works of 16th and 17th century painters.
What does success mean to you?
Success is making work that I’m happy with!
Getting to show it and for others to get to see it is a wonderful luxury…
What are you working on currently?
Currently, a show of works I made in 2019/2020 is on display at Argentea Gallery in Birmingham.
It’s a body of images made using a new way of working which I’m still busy exploring… I have been making negative ‘confetti’ and making unique prints by ‘sprinkling’ these in the darkroom enlarger.
More to come!
Anything else you would like to share?
The works currently hanging at Raum mit Licht are part of a series called In the beginning...
This body of work is made by cutting and replacing upside down a circular central section of a square medium format negative.
These images are in part about the process of looking, about acknowledging that our eyes, like the camera, ‘see’ the world upside down.
It then takes our brain to flip the image back again so that we see the world the right way up.
Early understanding of the mechanical biology of the human eye was conclusively demonstrated and understood in the 17th century through the making of camera obscuras.
Vision itself is also circular and I am endlessly drawn to using the circle and making circular images.
The circle is also reminiscent of the natural world and of creation itself; I love medieval illuminations showing God the creator holding a compass and creating our spherical planet.
Recent exhibitions include solo and two person shows in London, Birmingham, Vienna, Madrid and Paris and group exhibitions including:
‘The Living’s Easy’, Flowers East, London, 2006, ‘On the (im)possibility of a pure praise poem’, Man & Eve Gallery, London 2013, ‘Material Light’, Kulturni Centar, Belgrade, Serbia, 2015 and ‘Evidences du Réel’, Musée d’Art de Pully, Lausanne, 2017.
post-photography, hand-made photograph, abstract-photography, history of western European painting, analogue negative, landscape