The Enigmatic, Concealed Figures of Alina Kunitsyna

by Margot BuermannPosted on

In her paintings and ink drawings of anthropomorphous forms, Belarusian artist Alina Kunitsyna shares her personal fascination with people, and the ways in which we can simultaneously conceal and express our inward nature. Her series portrays figures obscured within garments, blankets and decorative fabrics, their faces always hidden from our view. And while her subjects may carry an air of mystery, it is through the expressions of their outer shells that we may begin to gain access to their inner worlds.

Throughout these works, Kunitsyna presents visual cues to help define her subjects’ “essence”. Their posturing (whether standing, kneeling, or even curled as if in fetal position) is suggested through the wrinkles and folds of their fabric encasing, while colors and patterns evoke certain emotions or circumstances. Kunitsyna also assigns titles to her works, several of which refer to personified spirits in Greek mythology. “Hypnosa”, for example, portrays a sitting figure enveloped in a dark blue, velvety material, inspired by Hypnos (the Greek god of sleep). In “Omphala II”, someone kneels wrapped in a red and black patterned cloth, inspired by the Omphalos stone in the Temple of Apollo in Delphi.

In 2014, a selection of Kunitsyna’s images were featured in the Kapsch Art Calendar. Speaking in a promotional interview, the artist said, “I have a fundamental interest in people – our being and our existence.” She added that her works are “about people and how they can express something through concealment and the associated abstraction, so that you get a certain inner image via form, structure and fold without actually seeing someone and their portrait.”

Alina Kunitsyna was born in 1981 in Minsk, Belarus. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Austria in 2007; previously, she had studied at the Lycée of Art in Minsk and the University of Art and Design in Linz. Her work is included in collections at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere and Museum Moderner Kunst Kärnten. Kunitsyna currently lives and works in Vienna and Damtschach, Austria.

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