"It is the wilful refusal to deliver a conventionally complete or clearly described picture that characterises Aliki Braine's work, compounded by the equally wilful damage imposed on her films and prints" wrote John Hilliard in the catalogue that accompanied Aliki Braine's show "Hands On" Aliki’s primary impulse is in exploring how a photograph can be transformed into an object. Often cutting, drawing with ink, punching holes or overlaying the negatives with adhesive labels, she violates the pristine surface of the photograph forcing the viewer to look towards the texture of the photographic paper and opens up a new understanding of the photographic process and image making. Through her methodology of blocking, erasing and obscuring parts of the image she unsettles our understanding of what is familiar. She teases us with recognisable symbols and visual references that appear to provide us with a certainty of what we are looking at. But we left to ask; is this a landscape? Is this a photograph?
Aliki works as both an artist and lecturer. Having studied for her BFA in Fine
Art at Ruskin School, Oxford University followed by an MA at The Slade
School of Fine Art she then went to the Courtauld Institute to do an MA in the History of Art. This grounding in both the practice and theory of art is
combined in her work as she draws upon the recurrent themes of the
historical painted landscape. The series “The Hunt” looks back at Paolo
Uccello’s “The Hunt in the Forest”. The deep black holes create a vigorous
dance of a fox and hounds moving across the image. As we peer at the grey
and black we begin to fill in the blanks, instilling the black voids with our
memories of the countryside.
In her new work Circles/Squares Aliki has again referenced the forest, this
time bringing together a very personal attachment to the snow bound forests
of her husband's home in Norway and her fascination for the circular
landscape paintings of the Seventeenth German painter Goffredo Wals. The
original black and white negative has been overlaid with a semi-opaque white
sticker, creating a circle within a square. Unlike her other work, in which Aliki literally removes part of the image by punching holes in the film, or scratching off parts of the emulsion; in Circles/Squares, the effect of the sticker is to obscure, rather than to deface. The effect is to suggest two images merged into one: a coming together of two traditions, the historical landscape painting and the 21st century photograph.
All images courtesy of the artist and Troika Editions