Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Conversation with Alejandra Laviada

Back in February, Jörg posted about Alejandra Laviada on Conscientious. I immediately clicked over to her site and looked through the whole thing. What struck me was the simplicity of the palette, the interior spaces, and Alejandra's urge to rearrange the objects for the viewer. This shift between photography and sculpture is fascinating. I kept thinking about them, told the Nymphoto girls about them and finally contacted Alejandra for a Conversation. They made a deep impression on me and I am glad to have the opportunity to share Alejandra's work with you.

Nymphoto: Tell us a little about yourself.

Alejandra Laviada: I was born in Mexico City, where I’ve lived most of my life. I studied Painting at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) before moving on to Photography. I think my Painting background has influenced the way I think about Photography and the process of creating an image. I like the idea of working with each material very closely, getting dirty, interacting with the space in an active way and not simply documenting it.

Juggling, 2008 © Alejandra Laviada

NP: How did you discover photography?

AL: Since I was very young I was very fond of art and photography, I always carried my camera around and took pictures of everything and everyone I could. There was a certain obsession about recording every moment in my life, and by doing that I began to develop my own style and method of taking pictures. It wasn’t until I went to art school that I began to think about what I was trying to say through these images. I started to develop a language of my own and found that photography was the best medium to express everything I was trying to say.

Giraffe, 2007 © Alejandra Laviada

NP: Where do you find inspiration?

AL: In the streets of Mexico City. It’s a very vibrant and dynamic city and I’ve always been attracted to the energy of the place. I lived in the US many years (for college and later grad school), and I think that triggered an urge to record how the city was changing in my eyes every time I came to visit.

Ladder, 2007 © Alejandra Laviada

Chairs, 2007 © Alejandra Laviada

NP: How did this project come about?

AL: My first series of photographs were mostly documentary, I was recording how certain spaces that were going to be demolished. After a while, I decided there were too many photographers doing this type of work (photographing ruinous interiors), and I wasn’t sure what made my work different from theirs. I wanted to get more involved with the spaces I was photographing, and make images that seemed more personal to me, so I began intervening the sites I photographed, moving things around to create my own images. I wanted to alter our normal perception of reality, to make ordinary objects become something else entirely. The work became a lot more physical, and the process more sculptural, which now seems like a good way of combining my interest in art and photography.

Telephones, 2007 © Alejandra Laviada

NP: What's next?

AL: I’m preparing for my first US solo-show this October at Danziger Projects, which I’m very excited about. Here’s the link:

Thank you Alejandra! Alejandra's show, Photo Sculptures, opens this Saturday night at Danziger and runs from October 11 through November 8, 2008.


nina corvallo said...

Alejandra: I love your work, thank you so much for participating in Nymphoto Conversations.

Jane Tam said...

absolutely beautiful work!

Anonymous said...

This is a copy in color of Fischli & Weiss work.

nina corvallo said...

To Anonymnous:
"Copy" implies that Alejandra intentionally re-created the work of Fischli & Weiss.
I admit I for one was not familiar with Fischli & Weiss' work.
After briefly checking it out, I still love and value Alejandra's work. My take is that she came to her images through her own process --independent of Fischli & Weiss's work (she clearly explains in her interview above how she arrived at the images).
And that is very important. Visually her images are very appealing to me and I love her palette and how she came to create these images.
I think true originality is perhaps impossible today and contemporary art is very much about nuance & intent.
Is Hank Willis Thomas' work a rip off of Richard Prince's work? Hardly!! Is Annelies Strab's work copying Nan Goldin's? I think not.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I agree with "anonymous", but this is not about making the trial of Alejandra Laviada !
Even the process is different, the result is the same :
- same context : a "dirty" floor in front of a "damaged" wall (not a clean studio).
- same kind of objects.
- same precarious sculptures.
- same play with the balance of the "sculptures".

Fischli & Weiss could simply sign this work.

Mr Danziger (who don't want to publish my message about Fischli & Weiss on his blog) call that : "totally original" !

The visual differences are the color and the light, nothing else.
Miss Laviada is mayby a talented editorial photographer but she didn't found her own voice yet as an artist.

A few years ago Alec Soth published on his blog a photograph of a "sclupture" he made with founded objects, he explained (so far as I can remember) the great pleasure he had to do it, but when he saw the picture he realized he did a Fischli & Weiss work !
So I can't believe that the european photo scene is so ignored in the US !

Anyway thank you for publishing my message...


Peter Paul

nina corvallo said...

Peter Paul:
Thank you for your message. We won't censor or remove a message unless someone is making personal attacks or vulgar or dangerous remarks. Discourse is good.Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

jw said...

i think one of the biggest differences between this work and fischli & weiss is that their work seems linked to text much more heavily. maybe they made the sculputes first, then titled them, but the title is just as important, if not more, than the objects. Alejandra work seems much more about creating sculptures from scavenging, not just what was lying around the studio. fischli and weiss seem to be using specific items as symbols. to me their work links more to that 50's sensibility, jean tinguely,%20Baluba%20III.jpg for example, whereas i feel Alejandra's work is more in line with Tim Davis' "signage" series peter paul says "The visual differences are the color and the light, nothing else." i don't agree. i think conceptually they are different. i haven't read the press release though, i'm just judging by her interview here and looking at her images.

sexy said...
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