In a new photography show, Alex Prager objectifies women:
As in her past two shows, "Polyester" and "The Big Valley," L.A. artist Prager's latest show, Week-End, features the artist's acquaintances made over into classically feminine mannequins. ArtNet,
In the artist's own words, she is "documenting a world that exists and doesn't exist at the same time." The trilogy began with girls playing archetypal roles in Polyester. Then in The Big Valley, the roles took on lives of their own, and the separation between make-believe and real life began to dissolve. With Week-End, which signifies the peak as well as the extent of the period, the façade becomes so thick that the illusion is now more real than the world they actually live in.
So, "Week-End" finds Prager's subjects explicitly cinematic - overt homages to Hitchcock's blondes, Lynch's subversion and Eccleston's saturated Americana. Says Wallpaper, on female archetypes - ranging from the temptress to the tempted - Prager manufactures meticulously staged shots of women both disguised and exposed - using synthetic wigs, heavy make-up and polyester costumes to capture, as she puts it, ‘women on the edge.'
If you're thinking "Betty Draper" you won't be alone - and the brittle identity politics in which Prager work can feel familiar. But the fact that the images still evoke such a visceral response shows says something: it's always a little uncomfortable to be confronted with iconic femininity and be immediately seduced by its beauty before considering the implications. And the artist obviously knows that: that she knows the women behind the mask must make the experience even more disquieting.