NOFILTER_Aleksandrova

NO FILTER by Helena Aleksandrova. 30.05-16.06.

Exhibition opening on Thursday 30th of May 2019 at 18:00

Helena Aleksandrova will perform during the opening at 19:30

Hi, welcome to my exhibition.

My face is very present here. One may call it a performance for camera, others may call it narcissism. What I want to say with these representations is something more. The DIY craft of selfies and online exposure liberate and limit me at the same time. What can I bring to the world of contemporary art now? I use this same face and body, daily and virtually.

I was sexually assaulted on 22 July, 2018. The deadline for the Myymälä2 open call was 25 July. I made it. I furiously made the deadline. Now I’ve made it to the actual exhibition.

I am excellent now, and I tell this story not out of shame, trauma, or with the aim of manipulating you to pay attention. My desire is not to use cheap metaphors or play-acting as a distraction, pretending my unshaved white armpits can act as armour in the face of a world that is aggressive, or as martyr activism in the face of a world that is burning. These hairy armpits and fluffy legs did not save me from the assault, though. They were not so monstrous and unfeminine. A policeman might consider my short skirt to be an invitation; body hair wasn’t repulsive enough to shield me from someone aggressively pursuing a sick entitlement to a stranger’s body.

I’m thinking about beauty standards, beauty protest, voyeurism, and sexualisation. In the video work, I approach it through the story of Lady Godiva, whose hair was a security sheath, and Peeping Tom, who was punished with an intensity no longer applied to those who assault us. In the first room, you will find embroideries of video stills, a way of entering a long lineage of craft and textile-based practices. Please take a photo in the cutout as well.

I am knowingly exhibiting my exhibitionism, tip-toeing around something that requires stomping, scared to dive deep, just keeping my head above water while feeling the weight of seemingly unyielding, paralysing, heavy, fucked up patriarchal power structures in this current social system.

I invite you to think about it all for a minute—to get inspired, to judge, to laugh, to discuss, maybe to cry a little (tiny) bit. Call your friends and families, ask them when did they start shaving. Then be amazed at how a little thing like body hair can unravel a lot of amazing stories.

P.S. Spoiler alert, I am cutting my long hair off in the end of the video, maybe you’d like to stay at least for that spectacle?

Enjoy.

Supported by unemployment benefits; side jobs djing and life modelling; and random airbnb guests.

P.P.S. please do not translate this to my mum, or report this to Kela

Thanks to Katie Lenanton for workshopping this text with me.

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Helena Aleksandrova (b.1992) is a Helsinki-based artist from St.Petersburg. She works primarily with the moving image, performance for camera and photography. In her artistic practice, she is inspired by popular cultural and social phenomena as a platform for creating new ideas. She likes to smoke and take long walks on a beach.

Helena got her Bachelor’s degree in 2014 from Smolny College, St.Petersburg State University, which is supported by Bard College. She also holds a second degree from Bard College. In the Bachelor studies, she was majoring in Film and Video. She received her Master degree from Aalto University in the program of Visual Culture and Contemporary Art. In 2018 Finnish Cultural Foundation awarded Helena a working grant. Currently, she is a participant of Academy of Moving People and Images where she is focusing on deconstructing the genre of giallo.