'Falling' by Mauricio Alejo

Sep 27, 2018 5:40PM

Falling, 2017, Video projection 24 sec. loop, Ed.5+AP

My work has been concerned with the tension between reality and photographic representation. The focus has swung between the two, sometimes being more committed to reality, the external object, and other times paying attention to the specificity of photographic representation. Although it is most satisfying when the work hits it right in the middle, the work is drawn from the entire range of the swing. In recent years I've been considering the nature of photographic images, and in that sense, this work relates to the very basis of photography as a medium.

I work in studio photography because I find fascinating that a subtle kind of truthfulness is possible within a highly artificial and controlled environment. Lately, I've been doing self-conscious photographic images that make evident the process and labor of their own production. I use an analog large format camera, utilizing both in-camera (masks and double exposures) and on-set editing (cut paper interventions). There are historical reasons that make the studio the perfect place for my endeavor. The word "studio" finds its genealogy in 19th century positivism, where the locus of knowledge irrevocably shifted from the metaphysical to methodical empiric observation. Right at its beginning photography became a tool of objective knowledge, as well as a means of aesthetic production. The barrier that separated those tasks has been kept porous ever since. Today, we live with the complexity of photographic knowledge. What kind of truth does a photograph convey? What is the status of photographic representation?

It is very important to make clear that these finished images concentrate on the process, and are distinct from experiments or trials. The works play with established notions of photographic representation, disregarding the context they should belong to. I'm taking advantage of the use of conflicting contemporary visual languages- art, editorial, commercial- to produce possible variations of mental awareness. This series deflects narrative, minimizes meaning, champions accident and improvisation, while putting forth a place of heightened observation.

Mauricio Alejo, August 2018