London based Artist Alicja Biała is currently enrolled at the Royal Drawing School and the Royal College of Art, where she is completing her MA’s. Raised in a Polish household with her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, Biala has witnessed a generational dialogue spanning 8 decades–– across wars, displacements, shifting borders, communism, and collective pain.
Titled in reference to both the medium and the subject, Beneath the Soft Ground, Hard Ground presents a collection of zinc and copper plate etchings that play with this history. Biala resurfaces fragments of collective ancestry and cultural tradition that she manipulates, often humorously, to bring the scars of the past into the present, as well as celebrate its fruits. Folk traditions, paganism, migration and politics are recurring themes, as they act like characters in a great debate between then and now. Classical in feel but playful in tone, Biala’s work could be read as an exercise in imagining both history and futurity, with worlds that ask us the question: where might we have been, and where will we go?