Alexa Wright

The Archeology of the Self (1997)

Alexa Wright‘s series, ‘The Archeology of the Self’ is cited in the essay ‘Digitally yours; the body in contemporary photography’ by Daniel Rubinstein which is quoted on page 17 of the course notes. I have not come across Wright’s work before, and in this particular series shows fossils digitally embedded onto the body. In her artists statement she says this about the work:

“in this work the body is represented as ambiguous, androgynous, sculptural and monumental. Alluding to both geological formation and artefact, these images contemplate natural/cultural constructions of self. Fossils resembling tattoos, are depicted embedded in the back to explore ideas of the body as a territory partly formed and occupied by its own (cultural) history and partly consciously controlled.” (Rubinstein, 2009: 6)

In the photographs, the human body is both the object of manipulation and the canvas – we are presented “simultaneously with a simulacrum, of representation and with the materiality that produces it.”

Tales From Life (2016)

This series provides potential inspiration for the first part of assignment 1 where we are asked to construct a photo montage using traditional methods. The apparent randomness of the chosen pictures and their placement appeals to me – clearly they are not random at all which begs the question what are they about and why has Wright chosen these particular images and placed them in this way. Aesthetically, the large amount of white space works well as it allows the cut out images space to be contemplated while accentuating the artificial nature of the works. There are no notes on Wright’s website to indicate what the images should mean, again this seems a deliberate strategy to allow the viewer to make their own interpretations. For me there is a common theme of identity, representation and sexuality – it is work that makes me come back to view further and ponder the potential meanings.

Bibliography:

Rubinstein, D. (2009) Digitally Yours; the body in contemporary photography.  Available at: http://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/6239/1/digitally_yours.pdf [accessed 16th January 2019]