Artist Alla Tkachuk explores the notions of human identity and the social dimensions of art.
The 20th Century Dictators, 2004-07
'The 20th Century Dictators' is a series of paintings, floor adhesive prints, posters, a wallpaper, textile, 48-sheet billboard, and animation. Going beyond the historical or documentary analysis, the series explores images of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Mao Zedong and Stalin in contemporary context. For the images Alla was named the 'Critic's Choice' by Saatchi Online in 2007. The series was shown on Europe’s largest digital screen on top of the Axel Springer Building as the animation 'Christ Is Not An Aryan' and at the Crone Gallery in Berlin in 2007 and was dabbed 'one of three things to see in Berlin' by Bild Berlin and BZ Magazine (Germany) at the time. A portrait of Stalin/Hitler 'Siamese Twins' featured as ‘The Image of the Week' in The Times' Art Review.
Prince Charles series, 2001-02
The portraits of Prince Charles were created following a sitting at Highgrove. Paintings 'Black Prince' and 'Prince of Cool' featured on the front pages of The Times (UK) and Bild (Germany), as well as ITV, BSN, Der Spiegel, Hello, Jackdaw Art Review, and other press and media. ‘Black Prince’ became a cover of the literary magazine Der Freund (Germany) and won the Lead Award's Gold Medal ‘The Best Magazine Cover of 2005'. The series was exhibited at Ebury Galleries ( John Adams Fine Art) in London's Belgravia in 2002.
National Portrait Gallery, 2002-06
Alla curated her seminar series on modern portraiture ‘The Changing Face of Portraiture’ at the National Portrait Gallery in London debating how portraiture can escape the shackles of convention with leading artists and critics such as Maggi Hambling and Tim Marlow. The Times (UK) was the series’ Media Partner and wrote: ‘Alla Tkachuk believes that radical new concepts are needed in portraiture today. She would like to encourage 3D digital and installation portraiture, has invited [to the seminars] a cosmetic surgeon to discuss his work ‘as an artist working with living tissues to sculpt faces’, commissioned a ‘sound portrait’ that uses computer software that translates image into music, and offered herself as a living portrait to grace the walls of the NPG. Tkachuk intends the choice of venue to be provocative. The NPG was established by the Victorians as a gallery about history and status of the sitter rather than the quality of the portrait as art’. (The Times, 13 June 2006).
5D Instigative Heads, 2004-08
‘5D Instigative Heads’ is a pioneering experimental work that transforms the production and consumption of representational art through digital technologies. The ‘Heads’ are 3D scans of facial expressions painted in oil (texture maps) and then digitally merged, moulded and deformed in space and time (3D modelling and animation), integrated with electro-acoustic landscapes and augmented reality, printed in 3D and projected. The ‘Heads’ were shown at the National Portrait Gallery as part of Alla’s 'The Changing Face of Portraiture’ seminars in 2006, at the Shunt, London, as an interactive augmented reality exhibition in 2007, and during the Balaklava Odyssey Media Art Festival in Russia in 2010.
Social Art Project MASK, 2006-18
Alla believes in the social dimensions of art. Art should empower people and help them to work towards a common goal. It should deal with issues directly rather than simply express them.
While travelling in Kenya, Alla discovered that the art aspect of education for creativity in schools was virtually non-existent. In 2007, she set up a Social Art project MASK (Mobile Art School in Kenya) to strengthen creativity of young people in Africa to enable them effectively solve problems and bring change. For the next decade together with Kenyan children and teachers she campaigned for creativity and run the creativity-learning programmes such as 'Creativity Clubs in Schools' and 'MASK Prize Creativity Competition for Young People in Africa'. MASK exhibited at UNESCO, Saatchi Gallery, Turner Contemporary (a retrospective exhibition in 2018), Nairobi National Museum, Library of Congress and other platforms. It was recognised by Barack and Michelle Obama and featured on leading Kenyan TV channels. In 2017, the Kenyan government made “creativity” one of the seven “core competences” of its new school curriculum.
Portraits of Opera Portraits, 2003-17
‘Portraits of Opera Portraits’ depict the world-renowned opera singers in roles in the Royal Opera productions. Created from life, the work plays with the notion of portraying the characters of the singers while they portray the characters they play on stage. The paintings were exhibited at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Royal Opera House Shop, and the Russian Culture House in London.
Public and private portrait commissions include portraits of Dame Ninette de Valois for the Royal Ballet, the Vice Chancellor David Dilks for the University of Hull, George Steiner for Queen Mary University of London, the President of the Russian Academy of Science Academician Osipov, Sir John Nott, Lord Bird, and other public personalities. Alla’ s portrait of another ballerina, Dame Darcey Bussell, was published on the front page of The Times in 1998.
Critical acclaim and exhibitions
Critical acclaim includes the front pages of The Times (UK) and Bild (Germany), as well as recognition in The Guardian, Independent, Jackdaw Art Review, Art Industry, Hello, ITV, BSN, Der Spiegel, Die Welt, Dancing Times, Evening Standard, and other international press and media. Alla exhibited worldwide in the UK, Germany, South Korea and Russia.
Collections and Awards
Art is included in the public and private art collections such as the Royal College of Music and BBC Public Ownership Collection. Alla is a RSA Fellow and recipient of the Leverhulme Artist-in-Residence Award, the UK Millennium Award, and the Gold Medal of the Lead Awards.
Since 2014, Alla has been writing a column on art and creativity for the Kenyan national newspaper The Star, and blogs for the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts (UK) and the Results for Development Institute (USA). She also published in AD Magazine of NSEAD (UK) and Private Sector Magazine of the Kenyan Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA, Kenya).
Alla lives and works in London since 1989. She holds BSc and MSc degrees in technical sciences.