Alexandra Ivleva, or Weld Queen , is a welder and artist. Brews in evening dresses from fireproof tarpaulin, wears a mask like a kokoshnik and creates Doriforov and Madonna.
On a huge enterprise with a non-negotiable name VNIIMETMASH there is a special building. There are colored walls inside, in one of the rooms – a girl’s dressing room, and all around is made up of colored metal sculptures. Here works Weld Queen (English – “queen of welding”) – artist Alexander Ivlev. Three years ago she rented this room, made repairs in it and began to cook. Steel, not borsch.
“My mother is a professional chef,” says Alexandra. – And she said to me all her childhood: “Sasha, only not in the cook, it’s hard work, all the time on your feet, you carry pans …” Now I laugh: “Mom, I obeyed, I’m not a cook. But I also cook. ”
Sasha did not plan to become an artist or a welder. Just eleven years ago, ideas began to come to her, and she began to paint with oil. “But that was not it,” she says. “I was looking for my stuff.” I came to my father and asked: “Teach me how to cook.” The father-engineer was only happy, and soon Sasha began to cook metal lamps: “I took the piece of iron in my hands and understood that I was being pulled like a magnet”.
Then Sasha got a professional education – she studied in college and became a welder of the third level. Perhaps she would even go to work at the plant one day. But in 2015 she was awakened by a cat. Or rather, the idea: to create a sculpture of a meditating cat. “I woke up and sat on the bed in a lotus pose. And I imagined that I was a great meditating cat. As if she felt herself in his body, – she recalls. – Presented that people come, sit down to me, and they become so calm. And I rushed to do it. ” Two months later, the meditating cat Tihvami first went to the exhibition.
Since then, the idea of sculpture began to come one after another. Sasha and says: “come” – they appear themselves. “I once went on a train and just painted. I draw, the line goes, goes … And I understand that this is a person.
I tell him:
“Hello, what’s your name?” And immediately I answer myself: Casanova! Well, you are handsome in general! ”
Now Casanova lives in her studio. This is a bright orange iron “man”, on which you can sit down and rock. Sasha likes to do rocking, calls them interactive sculptures. Her works are often placed not in museums, but in parks: there they serve as benches, and swings, and adornments. Every person who sits on such a sculpture creates his own performance – both for himself and for others.
The first rocking chair of Sasha was “horse-fire” – a red horse: “A friend had a birthday, and I thought – what to give a big boy? And I decided that every child dreamed of such a horse. ” And then came the sculpture “people”. “This is Dorifor,” Sasha introduces us. – An ancient canon of a male figure. Modern Dorifor is a well-groomed man, always with a beard. I myself am not a fan of bearded men, but this reflects our reality … “There is a female analogue – Madonna. The sculptures do not have faces: it is assumed that the viewer will draw it in the imagination himself.
Sasha shows us his wardrobe. “This is a traditional Russian welding dress, when I wear it, I wear a mask like a kokoshnik,” she says. – This – the evening, with flounces, you can wear at the opening of the exhibition. And here is an angelic costume. Angels are our helpers, they patch holes in the universe, and when they do, they need wings in the color of clouds to masquerade … “.
All these suits are sewn from refractory tarpaulin, in each of them Sasha cooks. This is part of her mythology. The world, which she came up with herself and about which it is quite possible to write a book like “The Lord of the Rings”. It has both galactic welders and a welder-superman. Now on Sasha, however, the usual working suit, and with him – special shoes with iron noses: “So that if the piece of iron falls, I do not flatten my finger.” Sasha makes up her own suits herself. And holds in them performances and master classes.
“How do they look on the street? Neck fold! One winter I wore a Russian dress, a mask like a kokoshnik, a fur coat, went towards Gorky Park. And someone sfotkal me from behind. And then I found it in a huge public in VKontakte with signatures like: “Who is this woman, where is she going?”
To attire Sasha adds a “bag for strong women”, welded from the armature – she, in general, does not weigh much, ordinary women’s bags are heavier.
Still there is an escort with a bottle of beer – it should be worn with a sports welding suit. He appeared after one professional exhibition – Sasha often happens at such. “It was in the end, everyone was already cheerful, and a guy comes up to me and says:” Sasha, well, you’re a welder of the third level! And I’m a welder! We are so cool! “Such a clear guy, and it’s clear that I’m his brother in full,” she laughs. “He told me ten times.” And at 5.30 in the morning I was awakened by the idea: it is necessary to make a sports welding suit for “clear guys”, and to him a string of stringers with beer and sunflower seeds. ”
Although welders – “clear guys” and can sometimes drink beer, Sasha asks not to think about them in a stereotyped way. “All these stereotypes about” eternally drunk welders “… Yes, a welder can not be drunk at a factory, because he simply will not be allowed to work! From what he does, people’s lives depend. ”
“When I talk about my job when I get to know a man, the first reaction is distrust. They ask: “Are you kidding, or what?” Then I tell them, and they have a suspicion that I really am a welder, “Sasha says. – And at exhibitions, when I come in a mask, sometimes ironically ask: “A welder is a real one?” What, really cook? “What is there to answer? Well, yes, I cook … “.
Sacramental “Well, you’re a girl” Sasha heard. But not from close people – they supported it from the very beginning. “But in general, when I’m wearing a welding dress, no one doubts that I’m a girl,” she smiles.
For master classes, which Sasha sometimes holds at festivals, come both women and men. Sasha says that it’s not hard to teach the basics, but “people are happy incredibly – they were taken to outer space”.
“Imagine, there is such a beautiful modern girl and the file grinds the heart, which itself has cooked. Maybe she does everything a little awkwardly. But this looks amazing from the outside. ”
And although Sasha is a real welder, she calls herself an artist: welding for her is primarily a technology. She does not yet earn money on her sculptures, but she says that things are moving: more and more buyers and invitations to festivals. They are also called abroad, for example, at the Burning Man festival, which will be held in August. “For me, the money that I receive from the sale of sculptures is just a resource to do new work,” Sasha admits. “My production is expensive, but all the costs seem ridiculous compared to what I have to do.”
Perhaps it would be more profitable to work as a welder at a factory than to engage in contemporary art. But Sasha just laughs at such words. “If I now come to the plant, I will simply not be admitted – I do not have a special certificate or experience. But if suddenly the country will not have enough staff and Weld Queen “will call” … Of course, how can I help. ”