Inflamed nipple tips, forms encrusted with pain and other sediments of living, the enervating discomforts of being in a body in need of care: In her objects, ink drawings, and video piece, Alicia Link searingly probes the struggle for reproductive rights and basic health care that femme, gender nonconforming, and transgender people find themselves in, one year after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

In 2022, Link began attempting to address the debilitating pain she was experiencing due to a medical issue. As she reflects on her recent efforts to navigate our increasingly stymied and invasive medical system, she conjures organs and other deeply interior spaces of the body, turning them inside out where their raw surfaces may breathe against the air, and she places them into the everyday liminal space of the doctor’s waiting room. Gynecological tools and devices are hermetically sealed into hospital cubicle curtains that are patterned with images from the artist’s own hysteroscopy. Standing in for the sinister and ever-mercurial Billing Department, a grubby sculpted phone rests indefinitely off the hook.

As Link’s forms wait, and wait, they seem to be in a state of transmutation. They are on the verge. They fester, curdle, seethe. Some of the forms sprout legs, though these newfangled limbs look unable to bear weight or to get up and carry their beings away from this place. Their anger reminds us that interventions for pain and life-threatening medical events cannot wait. Their nterminable patience asks for action.

curation, documentation, and text by Addison Namnoum

A Woman's Guide to Self Defense from Alicia Link on Vimeo.

Video 10:13

Videography: Alicia Link and Krissy Mahan
Performance: Alicia Link
Voice of the Patriarchy: Marc Attenberg

“A Woman's Guide to Self Defense,” appropriates language from Self Defense for Women, an instructional manual by Donald Monkerud and Mary Heiny published in 1980. The voice of the patriarchy, played by Marc Attenberg, directs the hospital gowned performer (Link) through a series of exercises. The goal of this how-to text is to equip women with tools to defend themselves against potential predators, “bad men” on the street. I use the text’s language to emphasize the institutional violence of contemporary medical systems and to demonstrate that such tools of individual “self-defense” fail to address structural features of the world that make them necessary for people with certain kinds of bodies.


(Reading, PA, April 19, 2023) When it starts, we will let the host know you are waiting is a multimedia installation by Philadelphia-based artist Alicia Link that addresses inequity through the visual language of the gynecologist’s office and waiting room. This ‘everyday’ space illustrates the often subtle violence of inequity enacted upon certain bodies. Working from personal experiences, the artist highlights hostility towards femme, gender nonconforming, and transgender bodies in the US through the guise of providing protection and care.

In the summer of 2022, due to a medical issue the artist was shuffled between three different medical institutions. These spaces were unequivocally institutional; they were messy yet impersonal, and mired in the sterility of bureaucracy. Since then, the artist has been ruminating on the true vulnerability of a body processed by a profession wherein care and comfort are necessary but housed in a space absent of those qualities. When the human body enters this space it becomes a site of data harvesting and profit. The medical institution becomes a shakedown.

With tactile sculptures, ink drawings, and media work Alicia Link builds a new body, one of the estranged anatomies of the waiting room. Quotidian objects are reinvented into the abject: hysteroscopy curtains quilted with hermetically sealed artifacts, a line of anthropomorphic chairs enveloping the remnants of patients past—a watch, an insurance card, and worn magazines. Isolated from the rest of the installation, alone along the gallery wall sits the Billing Department, represented by a phone permanently off the hook.

curator: Kevin Brophy

video still, WIP, 2021-2022

video still, WIP, 2021-2022

video still, WIP, 2021-2022

Hiding in Jaworzno, 2022

Plaster, water color, foam, paper pulp, acrylic paint, and nylon fabric
8 in x 9.5 in x 2 in

Beach Body Parts (shells), 2021- 2022
Plaster casts and watercolor

Bolt from the Blue, 2022
Ink, watercolor, oil paint, flocking, fabric, pins, and fiber fill on canvas

                                                          Beach Prop, 2021
                                                          Sand, papier-mache, glue, raffia, and plaster shells

Syrena, 2020- 2021

A mixed media installation that conflates the turbulent and tragic histories of the Polish matriarchs
in Link‘s family with the monument of a mermaid  located in Warsaw’s “Old Town.”


Syrena (clip) from Alicia Link on Vimeo




    Hiding from Nazis
    water color, gouache, marker, and pastel on paper
    12 in x 16 in

Borscht Babies
ink, pencil, and watercolor on paper