NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

Just a short while ago, ANISA (Aleksandra Ianchenko), had an exhibition called "Tram factor" that was part of her artistic research and a doctoral dissertation. Her research is based on her artistic practice and answers the questions of what tram atmospheres are and how they can be studied through art. The show invited the audience to explore these questions by stepping inside a sketchbook with quick drawings and textual notes from Tallinn tram stops. The presented sketches made during the summer of 2022 aim to capture fleeting encounters and events, weather fluctuations and mood swings, and the variety and beauty of everyday life along tram lines. Lets find out more about the artist through 13 questions!

1. How is your name?

I have three names. I was named after my grandmother, Aleksandra, a name of Greek origin meaning ‘a defender’. People also call me by its diminutive – Sasha. Anisa, which I currently use as my artistic name, is a Persian for ‘a good friend’ and was chosen for me by my father.

2. And your age?

I have recently turned 36.

3. Do you concider being an artist a profession or a life calling? 

I think it is a life calling and a choice (but it also feels that I was chosen by it). However, it is also a profession, not a hobby. Like other jobs, it has its working ethics and codes, colleagues and institutions, contracts and payments, etc.

4. Describe your perfect morning?

My perfect morning starts with a loving kiss and coffee.

Narcissist, 2021
by ANISA Aleksandra Ianchenko

5. What are your sources of inspiration?

I draw inspiration from my everyday life, people, and processes around me. Yet, my art is not realistic or documentary. Rather, it is a reflection of things that caught my attention. They are as random as a carpet pattern, a blooming flower, birds in a puddle, or a wordplay. I tend to notice beauty in the ordinary and make it apparent to others via my artistic reflection.

6. What is your favorite music?

I like the sounds of the 80s and postpunk. Among recent discoveries are The Starbenders band.

7. Continue the sentence: the world would be a better place, if there were…

If there were NO WAR.

8. What are your dream travel destinations?

I want to visit Brazil, Portugal or Mexico because these countries have colorful cultures and abundant nature.

9. What beauty means for you?

I often recall this saying: beauty in the eye of a beholder. When I did sketches at transport stops and stations, I noticed the beauty of these mundane spaces and the prosaic experiences of waiting for transport.  Furthermore, beauty is not a criterion or judgment but a feeling and embodied experience. In other words, we do not know that this thing is beautiful, but we feel it. For me, it is closer to Roland Barthes’ notion of ‘punctum’ – it is something that stops our gaze, it appeals to our feelings, not knowledge. This notion is usually used in the context of images and photography) but I think it can be applied to any situation when something strikes you, stops your mental wandering, and makes the world freeze for a second. It is also close to our ability to see ordinary things as strange or beautiful.

For instance, recently, I was struck by the shape and color of a home plant, which I had always seen but never noticed. The impression was so strong that I even painted that plant.

10. Could you characterize your work?

My work embraces different mediums and my current practice takes place on the intersection between visual art, artistic research, and exhibition-making. My style can be characterized by my love of vivid colors and precise lines, my attention to the everyday and the ordinary, and a sense of humor and lightness.

11. What has been your greatest art experience ?

It is difficult to choose, and it is always exciting to discover new art places and exhibitions. For instance, I recently visited Tate Galleries in London for the first time.

12. What do you consider as your superpower?

Sometimes, it is connecting people with other people, places, or opportunities they need.

 13. Where can we see your works?

You can see my artwork on my website, www.sasha-art.com, and on my Instagram, @anisakunst. In March 2024, my paintings are also displayed in Gallery Café in Rottermanni quarter, Tallinn.


Sketches and short stories from the tram stops by Aleksandra Ianchenko are also available at Instagram: @tallinn_tram_weather