In this interview, Oliver White speaks with Visual Arts student Aleda Laszczuk to uncover her creative process, the motivation behind her work, and why art became a means of survival.
Can you give a general introduction to yourself and your current body of work?
Well, I was born in
The encompassing vision of my art practice is to unpack the binary labels human beings have socially constructed—particularly those that are institutionalised and continue to play a pivotal role in
My art practice is inspired by the collective (and often hypocritical) experiences of human beings, the memes that connect me to others all over the world, and popular culture that either
How do people tend to react to your statements about control and submission, as well as your personal work?
I’ve had a few people accuse me of making art purely about sex, without even taking the time to understand the significance behind my work. My intention has always been to create art about the human condition and, somehow, this continues to translate into investigations about binaries, power and sex. It was Oscar Wilde who said ‘everything in the world is about sex, except sex.’ I really identify with this statement because no matter what I’m exploring, it all fundamentally comes back to these three themes—binaries, power, and sex.
You work in many different mediums. How do you figure out what topic you want to pursue and what medium best suits that direction?
When I first came to art school, I wanted to redefine my painting skills. But, over the years, I’ve come to have an appreciation for the many ways ideas can be expressed. Through my portraits, I try to be really precise and create a close replica
I also find human performativity to be really fascinating, and it’s an integral part of everything I do. Performance
What made you start pursuing art?
Art has always been a part of my life and self-expression. I won my high school’s Year 12 Art Prize, but, fearing my parents’ disapproval, I instead went to university to study law. After becoming disillusioned with working in human rights and social development in Cambodia, I decided that I would become the ‘perfect housewife.’ I moved to Toowoomba with my commodity trader partner (who is now my ex) with goals of marriage, children, and joining the local CWA. I spent my days in a performative cycle: making lavish meals, fluffing pillows, ironing white-collared shirts, and being habitually abused in my new home. It was only after I went out to seek help for my partner’s ‘anger management problem’ that I was confronted with these two words— domestic violence. Feeling increasingly isolated from friends and family, I turned to the internet in order to connect with others who’ve gone through similar experiences to try and understand how I ended up in this sort of relationship, despite my efforts to do better.
I returned to my artistic passions as a means of survival, and to regain an integral part of my identity that I feared had been lost. Perhaps it was to avoid living in
What are your major influences outside of visual art?
Spending many years of my life in Cambodia, and travelling around the world, I witnessed the effects of poverty, injustice, and imbalances of power firsthand. This had a tremendous impact on me, as I realised that while the world was vast, human experiences were often (unequally) shared. My mother encouraged me to read books like Franz Kafka’s The Trial, and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, to name a couple. These authors helped shape some of the ways I have attempted to understand the world. This actually developed my interest in the works of philosophers like Michel Foucault and Judith Butler. Popular culture and social media also play a pivotal part in my observations of human interaction, self-expression and connection. As does my fascination with true crime and reality TV.
What’s something/someone you’re obsessed with right now?
I’m currently obsessed with a book called Sex at Dawn, which is about the evolution of monogamy in humans. I’m obsessed with Brooke Candy, a
The art world always seems to involve the element of surprise. What future endeavours are you hoping to experience in the coming years
Interview conducted by Oliver White
Artwork by Aleda Laszczuk
This piece was originally published in Edition 30.