Alisa Aistova (b. 1988)

Is a Russia-born London-based contemporary artist, who constantly pushes the boundaries of photography as she uses her medium of choice to create complex projects and installations that also incorporate drawings, videos, collages, objects and performative practices.Having being diagnosed with clinical depression and bipolar disorder, Alisa focuses on the transformations an artist’s work and personality undergo because of illness. Besides trauma and mental health issues, she explores themes such as in-between states and physical and psychological limitations as well as the darker areas of the soul, fear, isolation and death.While in Russia, Alisa received her bachelor’s degree in computer science from Russian State Social University, Moscow, before also studying typography at the British Higher School of Art and Design and contemporary art theory at the Free Workshops Contemporary Art School organized by the Moscow Museum of Modern Art.

After moving to London, Alisa received a Foundation Diploma in Fine Arts at Central Saint Martins in 2018 and gained a Master of Arts Degree in Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies, also at CSM, in 2022.

Alisa has taken part in numerous group exhibitions in Russia, Italy and the UK, including the London Ultra Art Extravaganza and CSM’s shows at the Lethaby Gallery. In 2019, she was an artist-in-residence at the Untitled Space in Shanghai where she produced works for her first show in China.

Alisa’s creative output was reviewed by Bunbury Magazine and Al-Tiba9 Contemporary Art Magazine as well as on CSM’s official website.

Statement

Having undergone a lengthy treatment for clinical depression and bipolar disorder, I have come to realize – through first-hand experience – that, contrary to popular misconception, mental illness does not foster creativity. Quite the opposite, it renders you helpless, draining your energy and taking up all the time you could have otherwise spent on artistic endeavours.

With barren dark months behind me, I have focused on the transformations an artist’s work and personality endure because of illness. It is my goal to break down the misleading romantic link between mental disorders and talent and productivity, a connection that has been the bane of creative individuals for centuries.

Researchers have long ago come to a conclusion that mental illness is neither necessary nor sufficient for creativity. And this is something I am out to prove with my work as I also explore themes such as in-between states, physical and psychological limitations, fear, isolation and death.

Staying faithful to photography as my principal medium, I never stop looking for ways to push its boundaries and transcend the two-dimensional image that I see as a starting point for further experiments and the centre of my installations.

Activity

2023

NOTHING: Art created throughout clinical depression stage, Book (in progress)

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2022

At least I can stay here, UAL Central Saint Martins Project

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2022

NOTHING: Art created throughout clinical depression stage, UAL Central Saint Martins Research Project

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● available to purchase
2021

Untitled Research

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● available to purchase
2020

Melancholic Objects

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● available to purchase
2020

Disparate Surface, Art Residence Research Project in Shanghai, China

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● available to purchase
2020

Clinical Record

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● available to purchase
2019

Bed In The Room

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● available to purchase
2018

Isolation, UAL Central Saint Martins Research Project

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● available to purchase
2018

Homeland

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● available to purchase
2018

(Insomnia) Untitled Research

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● available to purchase

Education

2022

UAL Central Saint Martins, MA, Contemporary Photography and Philosophical Practices

2018

UAL Central Saint Martins, Foundation Diploma with Distinction, Art and Design

2017

DocDocDoc Contemporary Photography School

  • The diploma project was among the 25% exhibited inside the Lethaby Gallery during the Foundation Show.

  • Camberwell College guaranteed me a place on the BA Fine Art Photography course immediately during the interview.

  • The exhibition at Waterlow Park included not only a rabbet on its own behalf, but also a work that became part of the work of a classmate, which was later used as a poster for the event.

  • led the instagram group and made all the main shooting of all the works, later used by fellow students for their own portfolios.

  • The only one from the group from whom 2 objects were selected for the final show instead of one.

2016

MMOMA Free Workshops, School of Contemporary Art, Russia

2015

British Higher School of Art and Design, Typeface and Print Intensive

2015

Russian State Social University, Bachelor in Computer Science

Lectuiring expirience

2017

Series of seminars «Expressive lettering», «Shkola» (most faimos russian type and lettering school) Russia

2017

Workshops «lettering» , Wind Festival, Russia

Selected group exhibitions

2020

VII Moscow International Biennale of Young Art (MMOMA Special Project) HOMO Communicating

2019

London Ultra Extravaganza, London, curated by London free painters and sculptors, UK

2018

Painting in the Edge of the World Exhibition, London, UK

2018

Radical (Fringe Arts Bath) Exhibition, Bath, UK

2018

It drives me crazy Exhibition, Moscow, MMOMA

2018

Household Mythologies Exhibition, Moscow, Biennale of Young Art

2018

Delphian Exhibition, Delphian Gallery, London, UK

2018

AN EXQUISITE MESS, Cob Gallery, London, UK

2018

The Essential Exhibition, Rome, Italy

2018

The Egosophy exhibition Exhibition, Lavagna, Italy

2017

Make it new Exhibition, Moscow, MMOMA + ArtPlay

Residences

2019

Untitled Space, Shanghai, China

Publications

2019

Wotisart, November

2019

AverageArt November

2019

A5 magazine, October and November