The Olympians – larger than life
Open Space Celebrating its 7th Appearance at the 45th Art Cologne 2011
Alexandra Zuckerman's show opened tonight at OPEN SPACE ART COLOGNE with watercoloured drawings of girls and young women arising out of a blank page. There is nothing to contextualize the girls they fall somewhere between the kingdom of the divine creatures and the garden of earthly delights. I saw Alexandra's images and I wanted to know where she got the idea and well, just more.
DP: What got you interested in the topic and how long were you searching images on the web?
AZ: When Galerie Christian Nagel offered me this show I had not been painting for two years. I was studying hard at the Tel Aviv University hoping to become a doctor. At that point I had no idea what I was going to paint so I came back to the point where I had stopped two years earlier. I was making collages which I then translated into colored pencils drawing (you can see them on Galerie Christian Nagel website). I started search the web for female body parts that looked natural and "not perfect" porn sites were a great resource of course.
I was quite amazed by what I've discovered in this portn pile. A special genre of a more erotic porn caught my attention. I saw these young girls-women posing for the camera not really aware of what they are doing but very teasing at the same time. Those images were so striking in their vulnerability, delicate beauty and strangeness that I decided to leave them as they were instead of twisting them into collages. During the last six months I was painting them and constantly searching for more new girls.
DP: What makes you choose one image over another, is it their bodies or their faces?
It changed throughout the process: sometimes it was their body, they all seemed to be in this transition state between girls and women. Full of youth and vibrant sexuality that they haven't really matured but were ready to be exposed to others. They all have similar body structure with small tits. At other times it was something that I recognized in there dreamy disconnected gaze. Either it was their naive girlie expression or something very bold and strong in a certain kind of shyness.
DP: Are you inspired by photographers, painters or any other artists in particular?
AZ: While I was working on this series of paintings I had Egon Schiele, Lewis Carroll's photography, Francis Picabia's nudes, Hans Bellmer, Balthus, Pierre Klossowski and even Lucas Cranach and Botticelli in my head but they are all male and I am different. I wanted to explore this classic theme and see what could come out of it when a woman is doing this. It's basically the same thing but without this manish greediness for young girls. In my paintings the girls are those that show something, they are big (150 x 110), playful and celebrating themselves.
DP: Do you ask the girls permission to use the photos or do you change them so completely that they are unrecognizable?
AZ: I neither asked them nor changed them that much but it wasn't important for me to stick to any realistic expression. Of course, there are inevitable distortions. I believe painters paint what they see for others to see it too and I saw in these young girls something exciting and strong enough that I wanted to share. I'm aware of the possibility that one of them can recognize herself in my paintings, let's see what happens.
DP: What has the reaction been so far in Cologne?
AZ: I don't know yet as the opening is tonight. I will tell you all about it later on tonight when I'm back to my apartment. So far I've found that surprisingly women find them more appealing than men. It seems like it's easier for them (women) to take and to like.