I am an interdisciplinary artist based in St. Louis. The exploration of Self is a sustained focus in my work: as a deconstruction of illusion, as a mechanism of defense, as the dynamic encounter between the subconscious and physical realm.
Alena Ahrens’ studio practice is influenced by her cross-cultural upbringing and doctoral studies in psychology. Her transition into a studio practice began when early field and course work in the fields of psychology and performance led to training with Marina Abramović at MoMA PS1 (Summer, 2012). Alena has served as assistant to Ann Hamilton and completed performance residency work with Mark Jeffery, Lin Hixson, and Matthew Goulish. Additional self-study then led her to pursuing an MFA at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) where she expanded her performance practice to include visual and sculptural works.
In her MFA thesis, Poetics of Denial: The Political Unconscious, Alena engaged in writing and developed sculptural work that explored denial on a micro- and macro-level whereas her dissertation (Poetics of the Self: An Interdisciplinary Model of Performance Art and Wellbeing) introduces an exercise that fosters awareness and self-reflection through a combination of mindfulness, autobiographical writing and performance methods.
Alena has presented work at the Zhou B. Art Center (Chicago, IL), the Tipi Project (Brooklyn, NY), the Bruno David Projects (St. Louis), MoMA PS1 (NYC), and the DAMU Theatre (Prague, Czech Republic).