Millennial Pink and the Parallel Universe of Fei Alexeli’s Collages
September 22, 2017 by
In Amsterdam-based artist Fei Alexeli’s universe, Neil Armstrong stepped out of Apollo 11 and planted a pink flag in the crunchy, frozen crust of the moon. Her surreal collages of “utopian microcosms” and parallel universes incorporate geometry, architecture, vintage magazine clippings and the deliberate application of Millennial Pink.
Fei Alexeli was studying architecture at Oxford University when she discovered her love for fine art. Recently, in addition to creating buzz in The Other Art Fair and The Affordable Art Fair, she’s been featured in an anthology of cutting-edge contemporary collage artists, Making the Cut Volume 1: The World’s Best Collage Artists published by Crooks Press.
Alexeli’s work is both timely and ageless, featuring retro magazine clippings of happy homemakers and beachgoers layered and often woven into geometric, space-age scenery. Her use of pink modernizes the photographic elements, playing with gender dichotomies and stereotypes. Aside from whimsy, there’s a complexity and wit in creating with the pink in the digital age, particularly after the rise of Millennial Pink. In her artist’s statement for The Affordable Art Fair (where she was represented by Retrospect Galleries) Alexeli observes about the color: “I think it is a very powerful and provocative colour which simultaneously can be very controversial… It is definitely one of the strongest associated colours and I love to play with it.
As third-wave as her incorporation of pink is, it fits in with the timeless choice to create many of her collages in space, or to re-envision brutalist architecture in futuristic shades of emerald green and neon pink like in her Brutal Utopias series. For a European artist, Alexeli’s collages often feel nostalgically and unexpectedly American – particularly in Welcome to Las Vegas where two women in overcoats and swimsuits stand atop a celestial mountain range in front of an iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, and again in The Dentist where a neon pink flamingo acts as a beacon to a dentist’s office surrounded by palm trees.
Red Lips and Palm Trees is one of Alexeli’s showstoppers, if only for the incorporation of Trendy Plants and Kylie Jenner-esque lips (is Kylie the new Mae West?) popping against a blush pink backdrop – fitting digital work for the Age of Instagram. Unlike the artist’s collage work that incorporates landscapes and architecture to create a sense of place, Red Lips and Palm Trees occupies a more intangible space – the internet. After all, that’s where pink has made its gender-bending resurgence.
Fei Alexeli brings a retro-visionary approach to the collage genre with space-age imagery and rose-tinted landscapes. Her use of pink softens the cold frontier of space while bringing familiar scenes to life in a parallel universe. As dreamy as they are intangible, Alexeli’s collages offer a much-needed escape to pink paradise.
photos // courtesy of the artist