Alex Prager was born in the bedroom of her grandmother’s house, in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, in 1979. She had an upbringing with few rules and little structure. At fourteen, she spent a summer on her own in Switzerland, where she worked at a knife store. She dropped out of school at sixteen, returning to Switzerland for longer periods, and earned her G.E.D. At twenty-one, while living in L.A., she went to see a show of William Eggleston’s photographs at the Getty Museum. “I felt like I was struck blind by a vision and that was the path I was going to take for the rest of my life,” she said recently. A few days later, she bought a Nikon N90s and began her career. She avoided formal education, and taught herself what she needed to execute her ideas.
Alex Prager is one of the truly original image makers of our time. Working fluidly between photography and film she creates elaborate scenes that reference a wide range of influences, including Hollywood and experimental cinema, popular culture and street photography. These delicately staged compositions produce a distinct aesthetic of still and moving images that are familiar yet strange, utterly compelling and unerringly memorable.
Silver Lake Drive is the first career retrospective of this rising star, one who has won both popular acclaim and the recognition of the art establishment. It summarizes Prager’s creative trajectory and offers an ideal introduction for the popular ‘breakout’ audience who may have only recently encountered her work. Structured around her project-oriented approach, Silver Lake Drive presents more than 120 images from her career to date: from the early Polyester and Big Valley series, through her first films and collaborations with the actor Bryce Dallas Howard, to the tour-de-force of Face in the Crowd – shot on a Hollywood sound stage with over 150 performers – and her 2016 commission for the Paris Opera, La Grande Sortie.
Supported by a major exhibition, and including an introduction by Michael Govan, Director of LACMA, essays by Clare Grafik of The Photographers’ Gallery and Michael Mansfield of the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, and an in-depth interview with Alex Prager by Nathalie Herschdorfer of the Museum of Fine Arts, Le Locle, Silver Lake Drive will be an essential publication for those who follow Prager’s career and all with an interest in and appreciation of contemporary art.
"I was traveling more than ever over the past several years: airport terminals, subways stations, streets of New York and London," says Los Angeles native Alex Prager. "I became very aware of the crowds of people and how my emotional and psychological state really determined what I noticed in the crowd and how I absorbed it." Channeling the personal experience into her latest short film, Face in the Crowd, taken from her M+B- and Lehmann Maupin-exhibited show of the same name, the artist allows viewers to witness the before and after of one of her saccharine-coated, Golden Era-indebted photographs. The melodramatic clip––shown here for the first time––has echoes of the famous last scene in Fellini's 8 ½ and sees 30 Rock actress Elizabeth Banks play an all-American beauty observing a cast of exhibitionist characters before finding herself thrust among them. "Every time I'm in New York I'll have a moment like this," says Prager. "The second you leave your house you are confronted with a crowd. The choice you have is to either let it swallow you up, or use it as inspiration."
Esta galeria vídeo de vilões, ícones da maldade no cinema, feita para o New York Times, tem já um ano mas o trabalho da fotógrafa Alex Prager continua a intrigar-me, os atores a seduzir-me e o cinema a apaixonar-me. Portanto ela aqui fica.