Alena Ahrens is a Contemporary American-Asian artist who is based in the Midwest. Alena Ahrens has presented work and/or workshops at the Zhou B. Art Center (Chicago, IL), the Tipi Project (Brooklyn, NY), the Bruno David Projects (St. Louis), MoMA PS1 (NYC), the DAMU Theatre (Prague, Czech Republic), and at the Rathaus (Stuttgart, Germany). Her approach to painting is inspired by psychoanalytic theory, contemporary performance, and abstract expressionism. 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). 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 dissertation, Poetics of the Selves: An Active Aesthetic, she developed a transdisciplinary model for the learning sciences that combines expressive arts, mindfulness, and positive psychology. This evolved into a social practice known as Mindful + Pratique.
I am a visual and performance artist, educator, and writer that is 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, seeking an affective point of entry into our collective subjectivity.