Born in 1982, an Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź graduate where she received two diplomas with honours – from the Department of Graphics and Paintings in 2007 and in 2011 from the Department of Fabric and Clothing. She won the 23rd and 24th Władysław Strzemiński’s competitions. She also twice received a bursary from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. She participated in individual and group exhibitions in Poland and abroad. Since 2009 she has worked as an assistant professor in the Studio of Painting run by Professor Mikołaj Dawidziuk within the Department of Graphics and Painting in the Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź. She works in the media of painting and installation and she also designs jewellery. Aleksandra Ignasiak connects her specific artistic sensitivity in each of these genres in actions entitled Un-gray the city which she has devised since 2011. Un-graying the city – earthbound painting was recognised by the curators of the Young International Contest of Contemporary Art 2012 and by the curator of the Lumen Festival 2012 in New York – Christopher Eamon.
The actions Un-gray the city are interventions in the city environment. The artist enters an intensive colour into the grayness of the streets, saturates degraded places with it, puts it into cracks in the asphalt and in the patterns embossed on drains in the pavements. The first “ungraying” of the town took place in Łódź in Targowa St. where she made colourful puddles there. After that intervention the artist has also ungrayed the streets and objects in Szczecin, Warsaw, New York and Prague.
She ungrayed New York twice. First during the Lumen Festival in 2010 when her colourful liquids flew between piles of salt in a factory which processed this mineral, and created surreal landscapes this way. A year later on the roof of the post-industrial Gowanus Loft, the artist coloured puddles with pigments: pink, blue, green. People using the subway could see colourful compositions through the windows. In 2013 in Flint, MI close to Detroit, during the festival of art in the public space “Free City” the artist brought attention to problems related to the history of the town. Because of the shutting down of General Motors, which had hired around half of the inhabitants, the unemployment in the town reached 20% and the population decreased by 50%. Especially young people left. As a result a part of the town became entirely empty. From these areas colourful puddles by Aleksandra Ignasiak spilt in various directions. On the one hand they pointed at the scale and the source of the problem, on the other maybe they suggested that through the revitalisation of these areas, searching for a potential in them, a renewal may take place.
In 2013 Aleksandra Ignasiak came back with her action to Łódź, where with a group of volunteers she performed Ungraying of Wschodnia St. The action started in the Rynek Sztuki Gallery with an opening of her exhibition Global ungraying, in which she presented photo and film documentation from previous actions. Around 1 pm, on June 15th on Wschodnia St. colourful pigments appeared. One could literally step into art and spread it around the town. These actions are ephemeral, they last a few hours at the most, but are an invigorating and positive accent in a gray and well known everyday life. The actions of ungraying the town connect artistic and social characters. Using art, the artist tries literally to pour some optimism into degraded, mediocre, gloomy spaces. Ignasiak explained the sense of her works: Łódź – my town. Old people, old age, poverty, roads full of holes, dirt, dogs’ poop on lawns, stench coming from the gates of tenement houses, drinkers and mongrel Rottweiler dogs. I don’t have power to complain any more, I act. Ugliness may become beautiful and inspiring for a painter.
In the project Water tricks the artist uses the changeability of the aggregational states of water. In the Biała Gallery in Lublin in 2012 she prepared a series of objects-installations. In the work Wave the artist collected from her friends hundreds of jars which she filled with water stained with various tones of blue and arranged them in the shape of a wave. The installation Maybe? was devised using a gurgling, orange liquid on a pedestal. She also presented a composition made of squares, whose surfaces were filled in with dirt brought from the streets and mixed with bright pigments.
The actions by Aleksandra Ignasiak come from avant-garde, conceptual actions. The artist creates site-specific works, even though the concept of ungraying is common, every time the action is done in a different way – depending on the context and atmosphere of the place. Documentation plays an important role here. The artist aptly uses both conceptual strategies – documentation and installation. Apart from that, a simple and unpretentious action may be done by everyone. It is enough, as an artist has shown, to pour a bit of a pigment to a puddle. Although not everyone is able to come with such an idea. So the idea counts, not manual talents, although the artist does not lack the latter either.
Aleksandra Ignasiak’s actions connect two apparently alien elements, social thinking, based on an action in a specific time and space which engages local community and symbolic thinking. The artist does not use water accidentally. Water is one of the elements. It is a symbol of chaos, changeability, but also transformation, revival of body and spirit, cleansing and magic. In Aleksandra’s works it is supposed to be a tool of transformation and change. But in order to change anything we need to first look differently. Ignasiak’s works make it possible to look at reality in a non-conventional way.
Artist’s web site