I assemble, juxtapose or superimpose diverse elements, all in the service of creating a unified composition ~ a brand new whole, not fractured, but in its own logic: complete.
It is my goal to present a glimpse into another world – one made of these disparate elements, but all of them working to attain a kind of seamless essence.
This symphonic aesthetic has applied for me whether I was using three-dimensional materials, digital images, sound, film or the written word. ~ aleXander hirka
I was born in New York City in 1951.
My fascination with drawing and creating visual works truly caught fire when, in my teens, I was exposed to the vast history and world of Art. My mind opened to The Possibilities by entering the fantastic worlds of Hieronymus Bosch, Salvador Dali, René Magritte, M.C.Escher, Joseph Cornell and so many others.
From the mid 1970s through the mid 1980s, I was deeply involved in the International Mail Art Network, a cultural activity involving hundreds of artists worldwide. It was a creative outburst with roots in Fluxus and other networks of artists. My works traveled to all parts of the globe through this collaboration and I was involved in over a hundred Mail Art Exhibitions internationally. In the mid 1980s I traveled through Europe and the Middle East to visit some of these other artists.
At the beginning of the 1980s the New York City music and art scenes pulsed with the creative, anarchic and playful energy of the Punk anti-aesthetic. This aligned me with my emerging exploration of the history and manifestos of the Dadaist Movement as well as the inspiration I was drawing from the works of Marcel Duchamp, Hannah Höch, Francis Picabia, Kurt Schwitters and many others.
To create a framework for my emerging new perspective, and a forum for myself and my fellow artists to expose their work, I co-published Smegma The Magazine – a publication which captured, with panache and humor, the zeitgeist of that period. The magazine is archived at the Museum of Modern Art in the permanent library collection.
My deep love and interest in music had also led, as far back as the early 1970s, to montage experimentation with sound. In 1980, in preparation for issue 3 of Smegma the Magazine I created a collaborative sound-montage with friends/artists called “Hot Dog, You Bet!” which would be included as a flexi-disc in that issue. To my surprise, a copy found its way into the hands of Lester Bangs, the influential music critic at the Village Voice, who gave it a very favorable rating it the newspaper.
Fourteen years later, exploring my love of film, I created a one hour video, composed of elements and scenes from hundreds of movies, called “Moist”. In those days before computers or editing software, this was accomplished using two VHS machines.
My works continued to focus primarily on paper/glue collage, until the turn of the century, when I began working digitally, using available on-line and scanned sources. This also allowed me to expand the size of my work.
In 2009 I created my first large piece (40”×30”). I began with a traditional paper/ glue construction, then electronically scanned it, which allowed me to then expand on the composition, both in breadth and depth, through digital manipulation. This piece, “Urban Anatomy”, was displayed at the 2010 Burning Man festival.
In 2011 I expanded my process again and now use my own photography exclusively in my newest creations.
My first opportunity to work exclusively with my own photography has been in the Anomaly Works NYC publication of “Seamless”. This collaboration with author T. Remington, uses my imagery as a visual extrapolation of the short story rather than simply illustrating the story.
In over four decades of creation and innovation, my curiosity and need to fit disparate elements into a cohesive, magical whole continue to reveal to me windows and doors where others only see bare walls.
~ aleXander hirka, June 2011