Perhaps political discontent feeds into a longing for the past since there seems to be a worldwide adoration of analogue snaps with saturated colours. I proclaim Alex Prager (1979) as the queen of staging fictional scenes with a grande #retromood.
Hitchcockesque films mixed with a surreal plot and mid-century movie music. I guess that’s how one can describe her moving image but there is also a brilliant twist of being very contemporary, something that would appear in the coolest magazine today.
Her photographs are uncommon (getting tired of using the term “surreal” for everything out of the ordinary) situations. They are theatrically staged in a 50’s, 60’s or 70’s setting, something goes wrong (a flock of birds flying in your face) or it’s just an awkward (a group of people staring into the void).
The question of who is looking remains at the forefront of photography. What’s so great about her work, is that she clearly borrows from the techniques of famous male photographers (William Eggleston, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Weegee) and moviemakers from the past, however, now it’s not the male gaze that’s in the centre of the work. We see it from a female perspective and that pulls the rug from under the classical Hollywood model of narrative and gender ideology.
Sound great right? Something not to be missed right? Good news for everyone based in London who has time to go somewhere in the next four days. Check out her first mid-career survey: Alex Prager: Silver Lake Drive at The Photographer’s Gallery. It includes large-scale Technicolor photographs alongside her complete moving images. It’s fantastic in the best sense of the term.
Alex Prager: Silver Lake Drive at The Photographer’s Gallery is on view until October 14th, 2018. More information click here.