Alberto Garcia-Alix

(5)-Press-Image-l-DBPP14-l-My feminine side, 2002 © Alberto García-Alix

For the Deutsche Börse prize this year I’m placing my bets on Alberto Garcia-Alix‘s book ‘Autorretrato/Self Portrait’. Through self portraiture this artist confronts the viewer with a harsh yet tender look into his tempestuous life. Spanning well over three decades you observe his varied and often sexually charged lifestyle, slowly ageing and moulding into this visceral being that bares all for the camera.

The strength of these monochromatic images only add to a somewhat raw feel of his world. Predominately your are drawn to the self-portraits, yet even in shots where he is not obviously evident he still commands presence in the scene. The work is broad with no defining narrative, only a sense of evolution, the only binding factor is the strong autobiographical element; yet is that not really evident through all artists’ work?

I look at his work and in a few scenes I find comfort in a shared experience, I wonder though about the moment he decided to focus more on the self and produce such a body of work. His words:

‘Decades ago I lost my primitive strokes and naive belief in the peaceful image. Now you know that their violence is greater than its redemptive capacity, and I know there’s something masochistic and cruel in my insistence on seeing me, for I have become a rabid exhibitionist my time and trouble. But it is still an exercise of vitality and the reason or cause to ward off, if only for an instant, my intense fear.’

He is aware of being an exhibitionist and a belief in the peaceful image being lost, is this why his images confronts us so?

This is the final of our four opinion pieces on the Deutsche Börse finalists. Read Peter Haveland’s piece on why Lorna Simpson should win here, Sharon Boothroyds’ piece on why Jochen Lampert should get the prize here and Jesse Alexander’s piece on why he wants Richard Mosse to win here

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4 comments for “Alberto Garcia-Alix

  1. Gareth
    11 April 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Interesting Russell. When I first saw this work was short listed I thought ‘haven’t we seen this before?’ Larry Clark’s Tulsa immediately came to mind. But maybe you are right that the personal engagement is greater.

  2. 14 April 2014 at 6:33 pm

    This does remind me of other work … Mapplethorpe for instance!

    If the artist is exploring himself rather than projecting then YES but I suspect the latter …

  3. Alyson Smith
    17 April 2014 at 11:38 pm

    I went to see this last weekend and was blown away by Garcia-Alix work – very inspiring!

  4. 3 June 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Without doubt for me the surprise package at the show; and whilst I don’t underestimate the other work on display, this held me in a way which I could not have foreseen. I wrote about my thoughts here: https://umneydoc.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/deutsche-borse-photography-prize-2014-part-ii/

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