Ceramic artist. Born in Izhevsk (1989). In 2013, she received a degree in architecture at the Moscow Architectural Institute (MIARKH). She lives and works in Moscow.
Mukhina has been working in ceramics since 2015. Alena works in the technique of naked clay, emphasizing the material and practically not covering it with glazes except for transparent ones. She experiments with several types of clay from different parts of the world. Each clay has its own characteristics, Mukhina assembles her own clay palette. The main colors are black, white, and deep brown. Alena Mukhina works with both functional objects, mostly vases, and sculptures as well as objects. Simple forms, natural textures and deep colors are the hallmarks of her work.
In 2018 she participated in the 6th International Ceramic Art Symposium, Latvia. Participant of the group international exhibition "Shapes of Comfort" Biesenthal, Germany and the international fair of contemporary art Cosmoscow (2021).×
2022 — "There's a reason I'm here", solo show, Art Design Human Studio, Moscow, Russia
2021 — Cosmoscow International Contemporary Art Fair, Moscow, Russia
2021 — «Shapes of Comfort», Wehrmuhle Biesenthal, Art Biesenthal, Germany
2021 — «Castles in the air», Art Design Human Studio, Moscow, Russia
2020 — «Four Rooms», online exhibition, collaboration with London Connoisseur
2018 — «Ceramic Laboratory», Mark Rothko Art Centre, Daugavpils, Latvia
Q. Has your architectural degree influenced your work in ceramics?
A. The Moscow Architecture University gives a great fundamental education in architecture and similar majors. I am grateful to the university’s community and people that work there. It is not a big place so everyone knows each other. I care for these relationships and value them as much as my professional skills acquired during the studies: understanding of space, the ability to draw, reading and calculating formulas, and many other things. All of these became my foundation; I cannot imagine myself in ceramics without it.
Q. Do you think modern architecture could serve as an inspiration for new forms in ceramics?
A. One could write a book answering this question…Moreover, ceramics itself could serve as a smaller architectural form ;) when talking about a form we always turn back to some catalogue of forms. In that sense what architecture has to offer is fully used in ceramics.
Q. Tell us how have you decided to become a ceramic artist? Do you remember your first object you made with your own hands?
A. The first object I made as a grown up is standing on my mother's bedside table. I remember it, of course. A little cup that I imagined to be a vase before it dried out (clay shrinks during firing and drying) It is white from the outside and terracotta from the inside.
Q. What is more important – texture or a form? How did you come to working with different types of clay, do you have your favourite among them?
A. Texture inspires me a lot, it is very tactile. My idea to work with different types of clay comes from the special connection I feel towards texture. Every type of clay has its own special properties; they differ during the process of making and firing. Real work with shape starts after I feel exhausted with working on texture. That is the moment for forming the shape. I finish it in some sort of meditative state, distancing myself from it, making it perfect. Texture, in its turn, will show itself without any tricks at the later stages. Both texture and shape are important for me even though I have a different attitude towards them in the process of making.
Q. Your works, especially monochrome colours and simplicity of shapes, remind us of nature. Some of your pieces send us back to the extra-terrestrial landscapes of Iceland and Kamchatka, is there any connection between your travelling and your art?
A. Spot on ;) I could never think of myself as someone inspired by nature. At the same time nature suddenly comes through in my finished objects after I complete the pieces. My close friends were the first to notice it, since then my attention has been drawn to this unintentional result of my work rather than a planned process. I cannot stop seeing landscapes in a mixture of clay.
Q. How do you get inspired? Which leading ceramic artists do you like?
A. First of all, Rafa Perez. I love his attitude to clay and to the creation process, I like that he does not put it on top of everything. It feels as if it is just the way of life for him, the part of his personal foundation.
Q. In the beginning of your career you used to do ceramics that was more functional, now you are into ceramic sculpture. Have you step away from the practical purpose, as abstraction is more suitable for self-expression?
A. Functional ceramics presume a very strict quality control and too many rules to follow. It is similar to school, but not everybody feels comfortable in school. At the same time I feel those rules are embedded in me. Almost all my pieces can be used for a specific purpose. If someone would have an idea to eat a salad from my bowls or put flowers in my vases they would play their practical role just fine. I think it is great to have such flexibility towards different usage.
Q. What advice would you give to the beginner artists in ceramics?
А. Do whatever you wish, do not afraid to experiment. However, this advice is too common, I feel it is not my place to give advice just yet, I am still a beginner myself.