Catherine Hyland

Anatomy of an Artist : Aleksandra Domanović

Anatomy of an Artist : Aleksandra Domanović

2021

NOWNESS

Anatomy of an Artist: Aleksandra Domanović

The artist's research-based installation offers a new reflection on seeing and perceiving

Berlin-based artist Aleksandra Domanović has been exploring technology, history, and identity in sculptures, videos, and digital artworks for over a decade. Her research-based practice was on full display in Becoming Another (2021), Audemars Piguet Contemporary's first artwork commission presented in the German capital, which opened during the autumn edition of Gallery Weekend Berlin.

“Certainly we can all learn from the questions Aleksandra poses in Becoming Another, which not only reflect contemporary art, but also contemporary life today,” said Denis Pernet, one of two in-house curators with Audemars Piguet Contemporary, which since 2012 has commissioned international artists to create contemporary artworks. All artwork commissions belong to the artist and are developed for the benefit of each artist’s specific practice.

The commission enabled Domanović to take her ongoing research into medical imaging and create her first large-scale site-specific work that proffers a visual distinction between seeing and perceiving. Born in former Yugoslavia, the artist became familiar with ultrasound technology at an early age (her mother was a radiologist). However it was not until years later, after reading a book by feminist quantum physicist Karen Barad titled Meeting the Universe Halfway, that she began to fully incorporate ultrasound technology, both its subject matter and concept, into her work.

Becoming Another occupied the former Der Tagesspiegel newspaper printing house in Berlin—a large atrium with an overhead passage that was originally used by printing technicians to supervise machinery. The artwork responded to the height of the vast exhibition space and featured six large-scale video sculptures hung from the passageway. An LED fan was attached to the end of each wood-turned post and hung at alternating 45-degree angles. The poetry of the installation was encapsulated in the notion that both the images and the wooden objects were made by a spinning motion.

Installed on either side of the video sculptures were two large-scale prints that use the Bezold effect, an optical illusion that causes the brain to mix adjacent colors. The exhibition played tricks on the eyes and served as a reminder of how an image can become an object—just like how an obstetric ultrasound becomes a fetus.

“We can not only change our future—we can also change our history,” says Domanović. “Sometimes this is called revisionism, other times interpretation. Ultimately it’s about how our history and our stories are open to the possibilities and risks of perception.”

The presentation built on the artist’s recent exhibition Worldometers at Tanya Leighton Gallery (30 April – 5 June 2021), which presented Berlin’s daily Covid-19 statistics in real-time and reflected how people were emerging from living under the pandemic.

Becoming Another by Aleksandra Domanović, commissioned by Audemars Piguet Contemporary, was presented at Der Tagesspiegel's former print house on Potsdamer Straße in Berlin from September 16 to October 10, 2021