Lucia Fainzilber Picks “Wild Flowers,” a Bouquet of Photos about Obsession and Female Identity

Apr 19, 2016 1:50AM

Driven by a desire to understand the relationship between uniqueness and collective female identity, Argentine photographer Lucia Fainzilber presents her latest series, “Wild Flowers,” at Praxis in New York.

Fainzilber, who is based in New York, was influenced by the clean lines, bold hues, and occasionally theatrical sets of fashion photography. As such, she favors carefully composed, color-driven shots.

In this latest series, she seeks to recontextualize obsession and fetish as signifiers of individuality rather than mental disorder. She likens women to flowers: While each species—and even each flower within each species—is unique in its own way, these various flowers share similarities that bond them in a collective identity.

In defining women by their obsessions, “Wild Flowers” zooms in on lips, legs, or the nape of a neck. Lizdahlia (2016), for example, depicts the lips of a woman consumed by her obsession with lip gloss, applied here in heavy impasto. Her vibrant, thickly coated lips resemble the gradient petals of her namesake flower, the dahlia.

Graceliles (2016), a similar composition, depicts a seemingly plasticized woman with lipstick and eye makeup so heavy it seals her face shut. Though the images have their differences, grouping them together reinforces Fainzilber’s exploration of unique identities within a larger community or, as she has called it, “a beautiful garden, which represents the women’s world and our relationship through friendship, sisterhood and motherhood.”

Interconnectedness and the artist’s own obsession with color are conveyed most effectively in her “Lulonia” photographs, which depict intertwined legs covered in lavender stockings against a lavender background. The women’s limbs appear disembodied, yet they are complementary and inextricably linked, entwined like the tendrils of a flower in bloom.

—Emily Singer

Lucia Fainzilber: Wild Flowers” is on view at Praxis, New York, Apr. 7–May 21, 2016.

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