On 31 August, Foam welcomes a new exhibition by Alex Prager (Los Angeles, 1979). Prager is the winner of the 2012 Foam Paul Huf Award. This prize is organised by Foam and awarded annually to a young, promising international photographer under 35. Part of the prize is an exhibition at Foam. Compulsion will be presented at Foam from 31 August to 14 October. The exhibition will feature a selection of colour photographs from the series, as well as the artist's new short film, La Petite Mort, with accompanying film stills.
Inspired by the photography of Weegee and Enrique Metinides, and films such as Metropolis and Un Chien Andalou, Compulsion confirms Prager's vivid cinematic aesthetic. Unlike previous series as week-end (2010) and The Big Valley (2008), the protagonists remain anonymous and distant. Prager's new series investigates the complexity of observation within a society inundated by compulsive spectators, as well as the recurrent discourse in photography - that 'meaning' is often derived from a multiplicity of gazes.
In her new short film, La Petite Mort, starring French actress, Judith Godrèche, Prager navigates the mystery of death through a woman experiencing the boundaries of her body and those of this world. Prager's La Petite Mort declares that "the act of dying, and the act of transcendent love, are two experiences cut from the same cloth - the former a grand exit, and the latter a slow escape. Indeed, many of the world's greatest poets have long considered a passionate interlude as man's closest moment to seeing god." The film features music by composer Ali Helnwein and Director of Photography Matthew Libatique (Black Swan, Iron Man, Requiem for a Dream).
Born in 1979, Alex Prager is a self-taught American photographer and filmmaker who lives and works in Los Angeles. Featured in MoMA's New Photography 2010, Prager's work has been exhibited at institutions worldwide. Prager's work has been featured in publications such as Foam Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, American Vogue, W Magazine, and Art in America. Additionally, her photographs are in the permanent collection of several major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Kunsthaus Zurich, and Moderna Museet, Stockholm, among others.