Steve Turner is pleased to present Alas I Was Cured, a solo exhibition by Los Angeles artist Audrey Wollen. Moving through different mediums, Wollen follows the quivering body of Jane Avril (1868-1943) as she appeared in fin de siècle imagery, whether embodying the iconography of female hysteria, surfacing on posters pasted across Paris or in museums, manifesting the erotics of the operating theatre, and later, be reborn in 21st century cinema.
As a teenager admitted into Charcot’s La Salpêtrière psychiatric hospital, Avril watched legendary divas of female madness perform for the foundational physicians of modern day psychoanalysis and neurology. Released as a young woman, she became a star at the infamous Moulin Rouge, immortalized in the drawings and posters of Toulouse-Lautrec. Wollen’s Avril embodies the imagery of art history, popular advertising, and medical pathology, weaving together another possible genealogy of contemporary femininity. Wollen finds kinship within a lineage that both mirrors and dissolves her own, opening up possibilities of relating intimately across time and difference.
Through video, sculpture, photography, and text, the artist bends theory like a soft metal, using it as another kind of material, another kind of surface. She extends her research into larger questions: is it better to be a girl or an image? Can we locate the subtle cleft where our bodies end and objects begin, the buried suture that ties us to thing-hood? The feminine self is no longer relegated to the cornered position of muse, patient, data, or content, but rather, re-presented as an unruly narrator, witness to a dying century. Tracing her own coming-of- age at the turn of the millennium through this lens, Wollen imagines an alternative archive of girlhood, where we dance in hospitals, writhe through the streets, and detonate our own image.
Audrey Wollen earned a BFA from CalArts, Valencia in 2015. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2016); Chateau Shatto, Los Angeles (2016) and Minerva Gallery, Sydney (2016). Alas I was Cured will be Wollen’s debut solo exhibition.