Stene Projects is an open commercial platform for contemporary art and ideas.
Inspired by the computer operating system Linux, the gallery strives to be an open and module-based democratic space in a digital age. Artists represented share an interest in slow artistic processes, attention to materiality, and/or the dichotomy of analogue, digital and historical, present.
One cannot help but to associate the porcelain figurines of Alexander Tallén with 18th century rococo. The decorative, glazed miniatures are characterised by kitsch and overflow – generously dotted with asymmetrical flowers and wreaths in noisy colours. It is clear that Tallén himself is well aware of this reference, not only due to the delicate craftsmanship, developed during many years of detailed studies of the history of ceramics, but also because of the various allusions hidden in the motives.
In many ways, Tallén pushes the rococo aesthetics to its peak. Yet, the figurines seem eminently up-to-date. By using his own body as a model, positing his miniature selves in different bizarre situations, Tallén touches upon questions such as exotification, gender and identity. Sometimes his symbolic language is clear, not to say literary – as in the work Cephalophore, named after the beheaded martyr. The modern man, the martyr… It would be easy to read the work as a thematisation of the hardships of gender identity and questions such as power and guilt, perhaps even with an obscure reference to Salome. The fact remains, however, that some of the depicted objects in the sculptural still lives seem inexorably nonsensical – as symbols, essentially empty. Birds, snakes, roses, plants and well-stiched suits in bright colours remain part of Talléns vocabulary from the series of 2015, yet they still have no clear purpose.
"Easy Rider", 2019. Image credits Stene Projects.