Alexandra BirckenArtist Factory
was born in Cologne in 1967.
Alexandra Bircken makes sculptures from a wide variety of materials: from leather suits to motorbikes to found twigs and branches, all kinds of matter serve her as raw material. This means that she creates very different-looking sculptures. But the human body is almost always at the center.
When she was young, Alexandra Bircken was an avid reader of the popular English magazines “i-D” and “The Face,” which cover fashion, music and youth culture. Expressing individuality and self-determination through fashion plays a very special role in these magazines.
Do the original meanings and functions of materials remain when they appear in new contexts?
Alexandra Bircken thinks a lot about the skin as a shell. For example, she is interested in how skins separate us from other things in the world, or how the surfaces of materials surrounding us can look, how vulnerable they are, or how they provide protection.
Sometimes she also focuses her gaze deliberately on the inside of bodies and objects. For example, she cuts open motorbikes or other machines with great precision, so that suddenly not only the exterior but also the interior of the object is visible.
Alexandra herself moved to London at the age of 23. There she won a coveted place to study fashion at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. After graduating she started her own fashion label with her boyfriend and lived in in Paris and London for several years.
After almost a decade as a designer, Alexandra Bircken decided to leave the fashion world. In 2003 she rented her small studio “Alex” in Cologne. But soon she started creating her first sculptures—Alexandra now regarded herself as an artist.
Welche Rolle spielt Mode für dich? Welche soziale Funktion hat sie? Hat sich das durch die sozialen Medien verändert? Wo bleibt das Individuum hinter Trends und Mainstream-Mode?
What makes someone an artist? Determination or talent? Will or genius?
Places, cultures, but also scenes can strongly influence people’s biographies. What creative influences are you exposed to? Who or what influences you? What are you striving for?
Like stripped skins, countless pieces of clothing end up on mountains of garbage. What price does our planet pay for the fashion industry’s ever-new trends? Does it always have to be something new?
In machines and architecture Alexandra Bircken observes similar structures as in a body, e.g. a “skeleton” or “organs.” With her installations, she sometimes consciously intervenes in the existing architecture and creates works specifically for a particular space or place.