Alexandra Standen is a Sydney based ceramic artist. Graduating from The National Art School with 1st class honours in 2011, she has been awarded an APA, and is currently undertaking a Masters by research at UNSW Art and Design.
Alexandra has undertaken a number of artist residencies over the last 4 years in Paris, Tel Aviv, Geneva, the UK and rural NSW and Northern Territory. As a result, her work embodies how we come to exist within different environments and explores our relationships to both physical and emotional spaces.
Alexandra latest body of work speaks to the process of making work in porcelain as well as ‘feeling uneasy’ around objects of fragile or precarious nature. Ceramic objects hold a functional quality and yet there is an anxiety associated with ceramic objects held within a gallery. We place vessels on a plinth, or behind glass and point to the fact that they are precious or historically valuable without addressing the ongoing narrative in these objects.
It is not the intent of her art practice to indicate symbolic texts carried by any given object nor, is it to attach such rigid 'meanings' to objects chosen by me for display. It is rather, more potent to suggest a more metaphorical, and at times substituted reading. By Examining the way objects and their relationships act as metaphors for human behaviour, particularly through function references, and the apparent coincidental nature of them, this body of work (collection of things, objects of intent) focuses on the subjective, cultural, and ideological meanings of material things. Collecting and living with objects has led to an understanding of a physical involvement in the spaces held by interior and exterior environments. Installations within galleries and museums allow us to become part of the world of objects whenever engaging with them either physically or intellectually. The things we surround ourselves with, on a larger scale, encompass the environments we function in and organise our lives around.
The premise of Alexandra's work is to bring into question the fragility of ceramic objects. Susan M. Pearce states, In a world of objects, different people will take different things into their hearts and minds, and so objects cross the threshold from the outside to the inwardness of collection. In a unique sense our collections are what we are. Museums and galleries hold the stored material culture of the past and from this function flows. This closed, singular history is inscribed not only on the objects within the museum or gallery but on a range of related ideas, ideologies, knowledges and experiences.
What remains is nostalgia and a sadness without an object, a sadness that creates a longing that of necessity is inauthentic because it does not take part in lived experiences. Rather it remains behind and before that experience. ‘Nostalgia, like any form of narrative, is always ideological, the past it seeks has never existed except as narrative and so is alway absent’