What happens when you fuse Ancient Greek sculpture with a future-modern aesthetic? The result is ‘Votives’, a very strong solo show at the highly respected Henry Moore Institute in Leeds by Berlin-based artist Aleksandra Domanovic. The exhibition forms a fascinating take on the history of sculptural language, with seven new female sculptural figures each holding different objects referencing at time the Greek practise of votive offering and, in some cases, women’s basketball. Six are human size, while one room is devoted to a huge, royal blue, 3D printed monolith. Domanović’s exhibition brilliantly unpicks changes in modern scientific research, the new materials and aesthetic emerging from tech culture, and the relationship to politics and monument. Here are three motifs in her work to keep in mind.
Cows: Domanović’s 2016 show at Tanya Leighton gallery explored recent scientific research into molecular biology, in particular the work at the University of California Davis to produce cows with no horns. In this exhibition ideas around genome editing are combined with a reference to the ancient Greek sculpture Moscophoros, found on the Acropolis, depicting a man carrying a calf possibly to sacrifice to the female goddess Athena.
Tupac: Domanović’s film ‘Turbo Sculpture’ (2010-13), on show in Leeds, looks at the trend of producing public sculptures devoted to popular figures in the former Yugoslavia, such as Bruce Lee and Bob Marley. The documentary-like piece at one point discusses the Italian artist Paolo Chiasera’s grey life size sculpture of Tupac, the African American musician and hip hop icon was murdered in 1996.
Robo-arms: Disembodied hands often figure in Domanović’s work. She was originally inspired by The Belgrade Hand, one of the first robotic hands created in 1963 by Rajka Tomanovic in Serbia. This prosthetic hands created with a sense of touch, able to close when it made contact with an object. Aleksandra’s robot-like hands have expanded into 3D printed limbs, based on the artist’s own body.
Aleksandra Domanović: Votives is on at the Henry Moore Foundation, 23 March – 11 June 2017