Alec Von Bargen captures aesthetic instances resonating true with their historical, political and social contexts.
Most recently Alec exhibited at the 54th Venice Biennale, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and at Les Rencontres D’Arles Photography Festival in France. He was shortlisted in 2013 at the Dubai Emerging Artist Award and was selected as one of Aesthetica Magazine’s 100 Contemporary artists.
His work has been represented at the main art fairs in Basel, Miami and Mexico City and he was just featured as solo artist for the Nuova Galleria Morone at the Milan Image Art Fair in Milan, Italy. He has won numerous international awards, is published in specialized award-winning art books and is included in private and public collections worldwide. He works on the road… resting at home in the Mayan jungle. Alec is currently working on a series of site-specific / installation / photographic portraits entitled ‘VeritasFeminae’
‘VeritasFeminae’ is the title of a new series of 12 portraits, images of socially marginated women Alec has encountered on his travels… 12 women presented as installations / large format murals / individual images / moving images / photographic sculpture. Through creating the portraits, he seeks parallels and creates analogies between the voices of these profound, marginated souls and those of important historical female figures. A book documenting the process and the creation of the pieces accompanies the exhibition as it tours internationally throughout 2013 – 2015. The book contains texts specifically written for ‘VeritasFeminae’ by important contemporary female voices. One portrait has been created in collaboration with Scottish artist LyndseyWardrop.
IN HIS WORDS
“It’s hard to say exactly when the concept for the series ‘VeritasFeminae’ came to be, but ever since I began my research these images have been a fundamental part of my very existence… my everything. It wasn’t until recently that the project took on a life of its own and became a set of stories, playful vignettes, profound outpours inspired by the socially marginated women of my images and admired women of social, political, historical and even mythological importance. The common thread: their passion for life, or death whichever the case may be and the inspiration each has given me… all leading to a truth spoken by the women themselves. Initially 12 are the number of the portraits (most photographic series are presented initially as portfolios of at least 12 images). The women in the portraits I have met in passing and for one reason or another they have left a clear and profound mark on my soul… their counterparts, the analogies and their tales have been with me for years. I wasn’t interested in icons… I was interested in extraordinary women in my opinion with extraordinary tales to tell. With some of the women I have an ongoing relationship, with others it was simply a fleeting glance, with some I spoke and others will remain deeply rooted in eternal silence. They are the isolated, the ridiculed and the abused. The misunderstood and the challenging… the provoking and the revolutionary… some by birth, others by fortune and some even by choice. To me they are and always will be my muses. They are not a casual selection, but the relationship between them is not important… they are all women… they all have a voice… a truth… a ‘VeritasFeminae’.”
MOSAIC OF WOMEN – INSTANCES BY ALEC VON BARGEN
When I think of Alec Von Bargen’s work, in particular ‘VeritasFeminae’, I am immediately reminded of a famous quote by Oscar Wilde:
“Do not ever try to understand a woman. Women are the images, the men are the problems. If you want to know what a woman really wants (which is always a dangerous thing to desire) simply look at her, do not listen.”
With ‘VeritasFeminae’, it is as if Alec were trying to reproduce the image of women starting from their deepest and most pure point: by abandoning the preconceptions and social structures that impose readings unique to the female reality. His artistic research, in fact, goes beyond the pure aesthetic rendering of the image and becomes a true photographic dialogue between the subject and the artist, filtered by the lens of the camera. The picture becomes, then, the survey instrument of this methodical search for the ‘Truth of Women’, that mystery that always surrounds the female world and that makes the female waterproof to man. Every shot, every click of the camera thus becomes a question that the artist asks the woman and every image that produces this shot gets a response, a small fragment of truth that the woman gives back to the artist. This great artist’s work lies in asking the right questions to these women, freeing them from their fears, making them feel at ease to disrobe their emotions and therefore their own truth. Each subject gives her own answer, her own truth, this is not because the truth is relative but because every woman provides her own nuance to that concept, like a diamond in its purity and integrity has many facets and depending on the angle from which is observed provides a different refraction of light. This is how the work of Alec Von Bargen becomes mosaics of images, in which we find ourselves spectators unaware of a story, that story of the woman and her encounter with the artist.
Alec Von Bargens’ is a journey into the complex world of women that the author tells by highlighting different shades. The photographs pay homage to specific women, especially those women whose truth is harder to read because their voice is more difficult to hear… the women that are most vulnerable, marginalized. From little girls to older women, from models to a simple passer-by, each woman becomes the undisputed protagonist of images that attempt to grasp, at least in part, the inner world behind each of them. ‘VeritasFeminae’ is the result of the meetings of the artist with women which he came across over the course of his life. Moments he tried to capture in order to carry with him a small part of the women photographed. This is how a close-up, a detail and at the same time, a simple look manage to portray both strength and weakness, light-heartedness and introspection and all of the other contradictions that characterize the articulated feminine universe. Each portrait is characterized by a delicacy that pervades the entire work and shows the author’s detailed attention in exploring the world of women without ever being intrusive and always showing great respect and sensitivity. [Official Website] [Mara Pradella – Head Curator – Nuova Galleria Morone – Milan Italy]