Magnum Gallery Paris presents Alec Soth, an exhibition that features work reaching from Sleeping by the Mississippi (2004), the artist’s first monograph, to his latest, I Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating (2019).
I’m focused on a work that began with my BA thesis, in which the centre point is the figure of Venus. I took her as a metaphoric symbol of both sublimation and oppression that concerns woman as a body, a presence and an image in the world. Everything unfolds in the continuous asking of conflicting questions: Venus as a saint or a whore, Venus as a dead symbol or as something that needs to resurrect. Is our body something sacred or obscene? Who decides? Where does boundaries stand? I don’t give answers, but a space of impressions, in which the eye is led to multiple layers and the mind can make its own conclusions.
My personal work speaks mostly about the inner and hidden feelings inside me.
I think that it is impossible to separate how I feel from what I represent in my images.
When I was younger I used to draw a lot and create things. I’ve always felt an urge to express myself. Later on, growing up, this urge was shifted on photography. Like most of the teenage girls, I was insecure about myself, my body and my face. It was such a struggle standing the gaze, anyone’s gaze. And I also couldn’t stand the view of myself from the outside.
But then, mostly during the Academy studies, I started putting myself both behind and in front of the camera. I became the subject of my own photographs, and so of my own gaze. I tried to look at myself without any construction, any social construction on me as a woman, as a body.
Although my work literally contains all of me, my body and my feelings, I’m willing to step forward and speak about a general condition of discomfort in a society that puts lots of pressure on women and their images.
Another important issue in my work is love. Or rather, what we call “love” but which contains a much broader set of sensations. Being in a relationship causes me lots of different ways of feeling. To stand them, I need to understand them. And I try to do that through images and words.
I need to understand how bodies and skin can be bonded, and how bodies suffer the distance from each other. And also I feel really curious about the relationship between a man and his vulnerable intimate naked image reflected in the photographic form.
Nude occurs a lot in my work, not much as an erotic symbol, but more as a primordial way to communicate. Sometimes it becomes a provocation but again, not a provocative wink to the spectator, instead more a “declaration of possession” that allows me to represent myself as I want.