The art of Alena Shlegel is distinguished by a specific freedom of narrative and images along with its inventive plastic revelation. Using precise and thorough composition with correlating color spots, the artist unravels the very mystery of art. It is no coincidence that the surface of her works is perceived as a complex textile texture, while their color leaves an impression of warmth and something of a fairy tale.

The sense of secret is known to be a feature of true art. Paintings of Alena Shlegel make us contemplate over the irrational in the existence. Looking at her works, we enter the world of fantasy where with a move of her hand the author changes the essence of things and stops time. There we have a wonderful chance to wander along a virtual garden of the artist’s illusions in the shadow of guesses and memories with a slight touch of magic.

Alena, being perfectly serious, remarks: “An artist, as well as a poet, lives half in a dream. I am striving to reflect things that in fact cannot exist… Let everyone see something beyond the borders of reality, make a tale of their own. With the help of my paintings people get away from the routine, feel themselves creators. And then, perhaps, for some instant they feel happy”.

The distinctive feature of Alena Shlegel’s works is the atmosphere of illusiveness, a transparent border between the obvious and the imaginary. Aristotle once said that familiar things and phenomena, put into artistic ambience, reveal their new sense. While history describes what has happened, and a poet describes what may happen, the art reveals secrets and laws of existence of real things. Art and reality are connected in a dialectic and mysterious way, interwoven into a complicated fabric of interpenetrations.

Paintings of Alena Shlegel naturally combine references to optic effects of kinetic art, conceptual search, postmodernism citationism, collages and assemblages with the tendencies to create contemporary psychedelic theatrical performance. At the moment when a curtain goes up and spectators see the stage for the first time, its lighting seems to be harsh, and different stage views appear to vary (closer and farther, darker and lighter ones). Alena Shlegel, however, goes beyond a simple technical depiction of the moment, she continues the dialogue, playing with senses and images. The artist connects familiar decoration with a timeline of events and populates it with real and fantastic characters in their paradoxical combination. It looks as if she makes up a little theatre of her own where she is a director, a producer, an author and an actor all at the same time.

Alena Shlegel stays between the form and narrative preciseness and the abstracting approach used to uncover this form. The artist explores factures, complex imaginary association layers, combines images, introduces allegories. Her creative arsenal includes mythology, folklore, history…Yet with all that the most important subject of her paintings is the image of a woman. For the artist it is a portrait, a plastic scheme, a decoration element and a surreal symbol all at once. Alena Shlegel replaces empiric reality with a constructed, made-up, virtual one, unites time layers and styles. This is the language of postmodernism with its intellectual message, the first step on the way to further understanding of the secret depth of author’s idea.


Natallya Sharangovich,

Art Studies,

The director of the National Center of Contemporary Arts