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AlexWest (work in progress)
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  • AlexWest : aping the Hollywood sign, the letters carved out in metal evoke a radiant promise. As we are here in Egypt, west of Alexandria, in a wide open derelict space, set to host one of the hotel and residential complexes springing up throughout the world to accomodate tourists and business travellers. It is this recently chanced-upon kind of space that has ignited Brigitte Bauer’s latest photographic series.

    The architectural landscapes, captured and constructed by the artist, show partially erected or completed edifices amongst a sandy yet tentatively ree-lined wasteland. Brigitte Bauer pays particular attention to those buildings flanked by ostentatious columns, which could as easily be ruins as symbols of an impending future.

    This contradictory temporality is revealed in a different manner by the interior shots – of a hotel – where the furniture and fittings, despite being so new, already look outdated. Their obsolescence matching the lack of stylistic determination of the « international » style architecture. These complex compositions multiply points of view, reminding us of some of Giotto’s a fresca painted architectures, in which both the interior and exterior are simultaneously visible. AlexWest’s colliding arcatures, open as they are for the time being directly to the sky, effectively frame other buildings, provoking confusing games of scale.

    A closer look sometimes reveals architectural incoherences. As here and there, Brigitte Bauer has digitally engineered new openings, added a building – taken from an online source or one of her own photographs. Discret and subtle, these modifications bring into question the authenticity of the whole set of images.

    In this context, the incongruousness of an artificial lawn, or the oversize scale of a building – made apparent through the presence of a human figure – can lead to believe in a montage, where none exists, or inversely to miss the artist’s intervention, where it has taken place. This spatial and temporal ambiguity is reinforced by the coexistence within the photographic series of both black-and-white and colour shots. By playing with genres, Brigitte Bauer puts in doubt the documentary value historically allocated to the photographic medium.

    If we perceive black-and-white to be historic, we see in the use of colour a more objective dimension. The artist counters these perceptions, or creates images in which the real and fictitious parts often cannot be easily distinguishes. The predominance of cement and sand, whose pallor is often contrasted with the greenness of the lawns, the faded blues offered up by the water pools and sky, all contribute towards making these photos familiar yet strange landscapes. So, between past and future, these re-invented worlds, with a re-invented location name, become, under the artist’s gaze, tangible abstractions.

    Natacha Pugnet


    AlexWest (work in progress)
    Read the text | Back to gallery

    AlexWest, 2012 (7421)

    formats et supports variables



    AlexWest, 2009 (1204-08)

    formats et supports variables



    AlexWest, 2009 (1203-01)

    formats et supports variables



    AlexWest, 2009 (1201-07)

    formats et supports variables



    AlexWest, 2009 (1209-10)

    formats et supports variables



    AlexWest, 2009 (1211-08)

    formats et supports variables



    AlexWest, 2012 (7380)

    formats et supports variables



    AlexWest, 2012 (7297)

    formats et supports variables



    AlexWest, 2009 (1211-05)

    formats et supports variables



    AlexWest, 2012 (754950)

    formats et supports variables



    AlexWest, 2009 (1211-02)

    formats et supports variables



    AlexWest, 2012 (7570-71)

    formats et supports variables



    AlexWest, 2009 (1208-08)

    formats et supports variables



    AlexWest (work in progress)
    2009 / 2012

    AlexWest : aping the Hollywood sign, the letters carved out in metal evoke a radiant promise. As we are here in Egypt, west of Alexandria, in a wide open derelict space, set to host one of the hotel and residential complexes springing up throughout the world to accomodate tourists and business travellers. It is this recently chanced-upon kind of space that has ignited Brigitte Bauer’s latest photographic series.

    The architectural landscapes, captured and constructed by the artist, show partially erected or completed edifices amongst a sandy yet tentatively ree-lined wasteland. Brigitte Bauer pays particular attention to those buildings flanked by ostentatious columns, which could as easily be ruins as symbols of an impending future.

    This contradictory temporality is revealed in a different manner by the interior shots – of a hotel – where the furniture and fittings, despite being so new, already look outdated. Their obsolescence matching the lack of stylistic determination of the « international » style architecture. These complex compositions multiply points of view, reminding us of some of Giotto’s a fresca painted architectures, in which both the interior and exterior are simultaneously visible. AlexWest’s colliding arcatures, open as they are for the time being directly to the sky, effectively frame other buildings, provoking confusing games of scale.

    A closer look sometimes reveals architectural incoherences. As here and there, Brigitte Bauer has digitally engineered new openings, added a building – taken from an online source or one of her own photographs. Discret and subtle, these modifications bring into question the authenticity of the whole set of images.

    In this context, the incongruousness of an artificial lawn, or the oversize scale of a building – made apparent through the presence of a human figure – can lead to believe in a montage, where none exists, or inversely to miss the artist’s intervention, where it has taken place. This spatial and temporal ambiguity is reinforced by the coexistence within the photographic series of both black-and-white and colour shots. By playing with genres, Brigitte Bauer puts in doubt the documentary value historically allocated to the photographic medium.

    If we perceive black-and-white to be historic, we see in the use of colour a more objective dimension. The artist counters these perceptions, or creates images in which the real and fictitious parts often cannot be easily distinguishes. The predominance of cement and sand, whose pallor is often contrasted with the greenness of the lawns, the faded blues offered up by the water pools and sky, all contribute towards making these photos familiar yet strange landscapes. So, between past and future, these re-invented worlds, with a re-invented location name, become, under the artist’s gaze, tangible abstractions.

    Natacha Pugnet