Working predominantly with dry media, Copenhagen-based artist Signe Ralkov (b. 1997) has developed a signature aesthetic of closely-cropped photorealistic drawing. Her works are most frequently monochromatic and replicate the pale blue tones of the cyanotype (a cheap and thus widely accessible early photographic process). Ralkov deliberately emphasises the photographic qualities of her work and prioritises the fundamental importance of balancing light and shadow over time in the production of new drawings. Ralkov’s choice to replicate the aesthetics of an out-moded imaging process also represents a willingness to consider the loss and gain of different cultural values between historical periods. Ralkov’s subject matter often relates closely to the metamorphosis that takes place between adolescence and adulthood. Source imagery is collected by documenting the artist’s daily lived experience as well as through targeted research into certain iconography. Recurring motifs include anthropomorphised swans and snakes, thorns and images of dentistry or oral body modifications. A principle thematic concern in the artist’s work is the way in which social behaviours are coded into photographs and performed via the internet; Ralkov often deliberately works against these behavioural patterns, particularly when they are explicitly gendered, and recontextualises familiar imagery to transgress established normative boundaries. Cumulatively Ralkov’s drawing practice serves to construct a nuanced personal mythology that blends digital aesthetics with a developed understanding of the wider cultural significance of various mimetic imaging techniques.
Signe Ralkov is currently studying at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. The artist’s recent exhibition history includes: Shedding Season at Gallery Steinsland Berliner (Stockholm SE, 2020) TWENTYFOUR II at Bricks Gallery (Copenhagen DK, 2020), Tales of Mere Existence at Bricks Gallery (Copenhagen DK, 2020) and No Scrubs at HotDock Project Space (Bratislava SK, 2019).