Aleksandra Domanović’s work “SOHO, Substances of Human Origin” (2015) is part of the current Triennial “Surround the Audience” at New Museum. Aleksandra Domanević was born in 1981 in what was then the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. “SOHO, Substances of Human Origin” continues the artist’s interest in the history of technology in Yugoslavia and the instrumental role of women have historically played in its development.
In her last work, “The Future is in her fingerprints” (2013), Domanević first recreated the Belgrade Hand invented by the scientist Rajki Tomovic in 1963. This Yugoslav woman created the hand as a prosthetic device intended for soldiers who had lost their hands in the Second World War.
In “SOHO, Substances of Human Origin” there are three 3-D printed sculptures derived form the artist’s model of the Belgrade Hand, including arms up to the shoulder, coated in metal and polyurethane. The three sculptures fill the space very dramatically as they are mounted on the wall and act out different gestures on a human scale. We can relate to their embodied gestures, especially the hand that holds a tooth between its articulated fingers. The impact of the tooth makes the piece more personal. Focusing on this element, the viewer forgets about the strong presence of technology. This dialogue between machine and human is also depicted in the other two sculptures, as each takes on its own pose and meaning, one of them recreating a religious gesture and the other a labor action.
To reach the sculptures, viewers must pass through huge hanging transparent foils sheets, described by Domanević as “gills”, that have been imprinted with images of blood cells, krill and krill oil capsules.
The elements are printed on the interior side of the foils but they are also recognizable by their silhouette from the outside. They cast shadows on the wall, creating an organic flow that seems to submerge the spectator in a bodily experience, a sensation that accentuates its drama.
Aleksandra Domanović’s piece has unfolded my memories when I visited Belgrad and Montenegro in 2000, after the Kosovo War. I believe her work must be shocking if Aleksandra want us to become aware of the post-trauma that affects those suffering the ravages of any war.