Coral Nebula



Coral Nebula

by Aelita Andre
Mixed media

View an image of the artwork

Aelita Andre’s Coral Nebula plays host to a shower of plastic, throwaway bits, fast-food freebies, and slops of paint that have made the long pilgrimage from the plughole. It is encrusted not with barnacles but with garish pollutants, caked in sea junk and choking on scrap. Frosted cubes of dishwasher tablet pixelate to Tetris graphics. Stencils and paintbrushes count among the clutter. A thick, silver splatter becomes a punctured, bleeding jellyfish, floating beneath the surface.

In this curiously sanded image, it is as though a wave is caught on camera, cast on a negative before its foam has burnt out. The graspable solidity of the three dimensions is shorn away in a Pacific breeze, laced in the salt of the lens’s wash. The photographic reproduction buffs the craggy collage of the original into a smooth pane of glass. The work is taken out of real time, drawn adrift of its sculptural presence, so that it may be gulped down in a single watery inhalation.

Words by Elizabeth Brown

Before us lies an intergalactic mass of mess, a celestial sprawl comprising of kindergarten miscellanea. Flecks of gold and miniature animals abound, scattered gleefully across the two-part canvas. To the left-hand side, a bubblegum-pink pony gazes into infinity, lying within a darker-hued splodge that can be seen as its malformed, coral-coloured cousin. The gaudy toy appears as an exaggeration of childhood gender norms, an exemplification of femininity. Its presence suggests subversion, but its meaning proves elusive.

The playroom was not the only part of the house raided; even the kitchen sink was scoured in the name of art. The rough texture of the loofah-like material, strewn about in various shapes, approximates the aquatic invertebrates of the work’s title. Add a few shades of blue and some crabs, and we are left unsure where we are: outer space or the ocean floor. Perhaps the mystery is precisely the point. In Coral Nebula, sponges can leap from the seabed to the stars via the countertop. Crustaceans can become constellations.

Words by John Wadsworth

More to discover

A number of articles have been written about Aelita Andre, all of which focus primarily on her age. These include those by Jacoba Urist for The Atlantic, and Germaine Greer for The Guardian.

Question of the day

Can children create art?
Share your thoughts on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

Yes and no. Children create art, but not knowingly. Adults look at it and then make it into art through their discourse. According to the old philosophy, creative genius is inherent to a child.

– Angela de la Cruz, Turner Prize-nominated visual artist (via The Brief →)

Anyone can! I’m a big believer in this. Age, background, and public exposure don’t matter. An artist is someone who makes art, period.

– Julianne Pachico, short story writer and author of The Lucky Ones (via The Brief →)

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