17 Jun Please Do Not Give This Article a Title: Krie Alden
As humans, we like to have everything neatly labeled. Separated into crisp little boxes, clearly marked with their contents, so they can be accessed quickly should ever we need them. We like everything to be organised, logically planned out, so we can know what we are going to experience before we do so. So we can prepare. We are at our best when we prepare, when everything is categorized, rationally planned out on a schedule so each component of our lives can run to its allotted time and no more. Because we like everything to be expected. We need everything to be expected.
Or do we?
Multidimensional abstract artist Krie Alden is hard to categorize. And her work cannot so easily be put into neat little boxes with pristine little labels.
Painting, poetry? Some times. Video, installation performance? Of course. Dance, sculpture? Why not. Performance art, body expression, dramatic acting – we could go on forever.
It is the spontaneity of Alden’s work that makes it so refreshing. The sudden, unfiltered burst of expression or inspiration, an instant of pure feeling that delivers a fleeting impulse which is then transmitted directly to the audience. But with Alden it is not a one-way transmission. Art rarely should be. It is an interaction; the artwork does not exist as such without reception. There is a two-way or multi-frequency transmission between artist and observer that gives the work its being.
Alden understands this. She left monologues – spouting words without reply or criticism – behind with the budding acting career from which she turned away in New York. There is now no Fourth Wall in Alden’s work. The stuffy confines of the theater, where audience and performer are certain in their distinct roles as deliverer and receiver, are a distant universe from her collaborative, two-way artistic enterprise.
During a 2014 art show in Philadelphia, Krie Alden took this belief to its utmost realisation. Instead of the normal gallery routine of guidebooks and audio headsets telling visitors what they should feel and think about her works, Alden made the visitors a part of their creation. Gallery-goers were provided with pencils and tags and encouraged to title Alden’s otherwise unnamed pieces. The titles would reflect a viewer’s response and reactions to the work. Since we as people share an incalculable gene pool of possible thoughts, memories, evocations, ideas, feelings and values, the driving essence of the work would change drastically from one viewer to another, and the titles would reflect this. Alden took the audience’s titles and other remarks and used them to inspire new poetic works which she added, along with audio and video material, to the exhibit throughout the course of the show.
Is an artist giving a particular work a particular title, perhaps now that we think about it, a draconian convention that saps the artwork of its creative potential? It suggests what viewers should see, think or feel, rather than letting them come to that through their own reaction. Their own impulses, the same mélange of memories and neurotic pulses and ideas and emotions and all those other things that we, as humans, actually share. So maybe we as humans do not share a desire for everything to be neatly labeled. Perhaps we are just told that we do, because conventions work best for society – though perhaps not best for emotional, spiritual independence.
Krie Alden does not put things into little boxes. She draws inspiration from everywhere in life. Every moment, interaction and observation is creative material. She does not distinguish between her art and her life, they are one and the same; painting is a process akin to breathing, exhibiting is a mere extension of the human impulse to express. From inspired moments, feelings, she creates a way to communicate this with whatever tools she feels best express it in that instant – paint, film, words, her body. The process is spontaneous, organic. And the result is an invitation, not a presentation.
Photo: Fausto Palafox
Come not to see what Krie Alden is showing you, but what she is allowing you to show yourself.
“Krie Alden is hard to categorize. And her work cannot so easily be put into neat little boxes with pristine little labels.”
“The sudden, unfiltered burst of expression or inspiration, an instant of pure feeling that delivers a fleeting impulse which is then transmitted directly to the audience.”
“Is an artist giving a particular work a particular title, perhaps now that we think about it, a draconian convention that saps the artwork of its creative potential?”
“She does not distinguish between her art and her life, they are one and the same; painting is a process akin to breathing, exhibiting is a mere extension of the human impulse to express.”