22 November, 2019 — 08 March, 2020
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Alex Prager’s inherent connection to Hollywood and her love of cinema, is as obvious as it is fascinating. Describing the city’s Wild West quality of no rules as one of her greatest inspirations, Prager started with guerilla style photography and film and then moved into more elaborately staged tableaux’s inspired by her personal life and the state of society.
In Welcome Home at Fotografiska, Prager seeks out the darker side of human nature, or reality, sitting just beneath layers of artifice that distract us from what’s important, captured with exceptional technical skill, precision, and an eye for detail.
images that trick the eye
Alex Prager’s (b.1979) fascination with the emotional and psychological lives of her characters is always present in her work creating elaborate tableaux, images that trick the eye and make you question what is perceived. The capacity to capture an underlying atmosphere of unrest or an uncanny familiarity, and the inner life of us humans, that is at the core of her artistic practice. The result of a deep interest in asking questions about human nature.
We are proud to now open Welcome Home at Fotografiska Stockholm, where characters and humanity is presented in Alex Pragers unique style of tableaux meticulously planned out and theatrical, often concentrating on the tension between reality and fiction. A play on nostalgia, memories and reconstruction is exhibited in 20 images, a film and a sculpture. All very fascinating and done with excellent technical skill, tells Jessica Jarl Exhibition Producer at Fotografiska International.
It was the discovery of William Eggleston’s photography at the J. Paul Getty museum that inspired Prager to get her first used camera and darkroom equipment and teach herself photography. Eventually, she got into the world of filmmaking and directing, using her network after a lifetime in Los Angeles to work with a team of specialists in costume, make up, and lighting, as well as actors. Prager’s photographs and films are meticulously planned out and theatrical, often concentrating on the tension between reality and fiction.
I was moved by pictures that had a piece of the artists' life force trapped inside. I felt that was what drew me to William Eggleston’s work in the first place, otherwise they would essentially just be snapshots...
...When I decided to do photography professionally I was committed to figuring out how to put a piece of myself in the work I was making. I love to put my references directly in my work, and are always taking inspiration from the questions I have about my life and the state of society. The darker side of human nature, or reality, sitting just beneath layers of artifice that distract us from what’s important, says Alex Prager.
All of her works are deliberately staged and cast
Many years after that first encounter with photography, Fotografiska Stockholm presents Welcome Home. All of her works are deliberately staged and cast. Prager loosely refers to a wide range of eras and time periods – 1940s through the 1990s –through the creation of specific characters, settings, scenarios, clothing, hairstyles, and poses. Other artists that inspires Prager are Joel Sternfeld, Cocteau, Dali and photographer Philippe Halsman who took the famous Dali’s Moustache pictures, as well as filmmaker Robert Altman.
“The surrealists are always great to look at and think about when I am conceptualising new ideas. Also Bruegel the Elder and Balthus have been influential on my newest body of work, Play the Wind. Every single step and component from pre-production all the way through to the opening night is meticulously dealt with by me, my studio, my production crew and my gallery. I think this kind of attention to detail is really only done to this extent in the art world! Which is one of the reasons why I love it.”