Alina Tenser

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Artist Statement

My practice is rooted in sculptural inquiry into form and dimension. Through this lens I move fluidly from sculpture to video to performance. There are often overlaps between my three methods of working. Objects used in a video reappear in a performance or as part of a sculpture. Over time this has helped me build an idiosyncratic iconography that is simultaneously hyper-specific and arbitrary. Seemingly mundane store bought objects such as furniture gliders, foam paint rollers, photo reflectors, and banana clips get reinterpreted with slight adjustment to their structure, though more often, their function. For instance the paint rollers get slung into an oversized necklace and start to resemble grotesque sausage links, and furniture gliders get sandwiched together with caulking and start to reference Oreos or pharmaceuticals. By making these playful adjustments I want to promote an original experience with designed and manufactured objects, which leave very little room for non-directive use.

In my videos I often reference the sort of step-by-step logic and simple editing that is found in early childhood development entertainment which is geared to be pedagogical. These videos build narrative through simple to follow patterns, usually no more than three, leading up to a transformation. I use this formula and let the narrative unfold in visceral , yet entirely obscured ways. My 2014 video, Necklace, features paint rollers progressing through several patterned transitions. First, rolling across a stripped carpet. Then, linked together into a necklace and animated with human breath and movement, and later, manipulated by a foot,slowly nudging the collapsed necklace shape into a perfect oval “O”. The transitions contain logic which is not traceable or predictable.

In my videos, I use green-screen techniques to fragment and veil my body in order to articulate the movement of isolated forms. I also choreograph myself with made and found objects. In its absence, my body becomes exaggerated and the animation of objects further dramatized. Akin to a puppet show, I animate seemingly autonomous objects that in reality are quite tethered. With this process I navigate issues of autonomy and dependence. These relationships are interesting to me from the personal perspective of being a mother as well as more formal interests in the sovereignty of form.

I project my videos onto size-specific plexiglass screens, some of which are shown on the wall and some free standing in space. The videos are looped and viewed as non-linear narratives or moving patterns. The screen is an important element of my work that reemphasizes the sculptural nature of projected video. It is important that the videos are seen in ambient light among sculptural work. In Glider Shuffle, shown at the Kitchen, a screen is standing in space with furniture gliders slowly rotating and traversing within a thin strip of video. The rest of the screen is clear plexiglass. The clear space is there to consider gravity as well as the dual focus of what a screen is – an obstructer to look at and a gate-way to look through.

Screens also appear in my performance work. In Selections From Sports Closet, a stage consisting of a folding-screen shifts, collapses, and forms to my movements. The screen references my video screens as well as my use of green screen during production by acting as a ground which cuts off and delineates my body as I move around it. In Selections From Sports Closet, I am performing repetitive actions, or reps, with a step stool and an over-sized paint tray which are reminiscent of domestic fitness and utility. The structure of the screen steers the actions within and around moments of privacy.

While my performances and videos center on the body’s experience, my sculptural work focuses on domestic forms and familiar geometries that somehow reflect the body. Often using an object of utility as a starting point, I make abstracted iterations of it. One prevalent form in my current work is a “tray”. The tray is the shallowest of vessels. It is not conducive for enfolding or carrying anything long-distance, but works well for presentation and domestic distances. Unlike a vase for instance, the tray’s volume and function are fully exposed; they are barely three-dimensional and barely useful. The tray’s shallow volume and bare utility are also featured in my videos.

Working across mediums, I want to understand form in a platonic and haptic sense. I address objects as pure ideas, ungrounded and scaleless in video; as their autonomous, yet imperfect, selves through sculptural objects; and as their tethered extensions of myself in my performances. Having a multi faceted practice has led to obscuring the origin of my imagery and process. Thus allowing for insular logic and aesthetic that is a common thread throughout my work.




MFA Virginia Commonwealth University, Sculpture + Extended Media. Richmond, VA.
BFA School of the Visual Arts. New York, NY.

Select Awards and Residencies

2015 Galeria Perdida summer residency, Chilchota, Mexico
2014 Vermont Studio Center Full Fellowship
2013 Dedalus Foundation Industry City Studio Residency recipient.
2012 Recess Sessions Resident, New York, NY.
2012 Dedalus Foundation MF A Fellowship Recipient. $20,000.

Solo and Two-­‐Person Exhibitions

2015 Ultraviolet with Nathlie Provosty at Gallery Diet, Miami, FL (forthcoming)
2015 Edge Thin at AIR Gallery curated by Amber Esseiva
2013 Hip Openers at Nurture Art, Brooklyn NY
2013 Alina Tenser and Bill Jenkins at The Suburban, Oak Park, IL
2012 Whiff of Black Ice Thesis exhibition at Anderson Gallery, Richmond Va Select

Group Exhibitions

2015 My Heart is Empty at Peregrine Program, Chicago, IL (forthcoming)
2015 Interface, curated by Sarah Coote and Gee Wesley at FJORD, Philadelphia, PA (forthcoming)
2015 I Know What You Did Last Summer at Soloway
2015 Neon Eon at Kate Werble Gallery.
2015 Break Out!, curated by Benjamin Faust and Julian Bronner for Frederic De Goldschmidt’s Collection. Brussels, BE
2015 No Entrance, No Exit with Anna K. E. and Viola Yesiltac, curated by Lumi Tan at The Kitchen. New York, NY
2015 And Sometimes Gravity at Adds Donna Chicago, Il.
2014 Several Circles, curated by Marco Antonini at Elizabeth Foundation, New York, NY
2014 Material Art Fair, Regina Rex booth, Mexico City
2013 Table Setting at Jancar Jones Los Angeles, CA
2013 The Made-­‐up Shrimp Hardly Enlightens Some Double Kisses at Laurel Gitlen Gallery, New York, NY
2013 Body Style, curated by Alisa Baremboym at Bull and Ram, Queens NY
2012 Crest, 1708 Gallery, Richmond VA.
2011 Soft Power, curated by Amanda Freidman and Elizabeth Hirsch at NURTURE Art. Brooklyn, NY

Select Performances

2014 Vegetable be Soap! at Essex Flowers, New York, NY.
2015 Vegetable be Soap! at JTT, New York, NY
2015 Selections From Sports Closet at NADA New York, NY
2015 Selections From Sports Closet at Kate Werble Gallery, New York NY


Neon Eon, Art in America, June 2015
No Entrance, No Exit, Art Forum, February 2015
No Entrance, No Exit, The Brooklyn Rail, February 2015
No Entrance, No Exit, The New Yorker, January 2015
Bill Jenkins and Alina Tenser, The Visualist, August 2013