Born in 1981, Israel, lives and works in Tel Aviv
Aline Alagem employs hyper-realism, reflection and duplication in her painting installations to question notions of beauty and violence. The installations jewel-like components serve to highlight the nature of painting as both an object and an entrance into an alternate reality. The paintings underline the concept of surface versus portal in their conversations with each other. The individual pieces echo each other from their allotted spaces, causing the viewer to experience a virtual vertigo. A curtain depicted in the painted space repeats a curtain hung in the gallery window, upon which the slogan Aline Was Here is painted in ornamental gold letters.
Hyper-realism is a Maximalistic practice. In Alagem’s painting installations, Maximalism takes the form of skin etched with tattoos, blood dripping ornately on golden-tan legs, pools reflecting anonymous places. The viewer is left gazing ambivalently at this violent beauty, at once repulsed and seduced.
Paintings representing severed body parts refer to the impossible object. When fragmented bodies regularly appear in the media, she wonders about this fascination with horrific imagery – does the beauty of the image itself surpass what it represents? The hacked-off legs present only themselves, in all their narcissistic radiance. Death and brutality have become part of an established visual lexicon, in which a glint resides: within and despite the blood. Everyday Israeli existence exemplifies Maximalism; beauty lies in violent acts of conquest and domination.
The image metamorphoses until it loses contact with its source; it is here that skin acts as a canvas and vice versa, wherein both surfaces offer their static opulence to the viewer. Like the surface of a swimming pool at night, the luminous surface is readily available, but its placid promise is broken once touched. The pool, the painting, the mirror, the skin all hide the potential chaos underneath; the tension between creating and controlling ideal beauty, and the ideal’s unfaithfulness to reality.
In traditional Judaism, tattooing is forbidden; in this context, Maximalistic decoration of the body becomes a violent act. The act of tattooing is one of control; the individual seeking to prescribe an identity onto “mere” naked skin. Absurdly, in traditional Jewish practice, the violence, so vehemently avoided, is mirrored when the skin is finally stripped of its ornament: before burial, the ink is burned off the deceased’s flesh, for the body is deemed unfit for the cemetery if tattooed.
Tue – Thu
Fri – Sat
By appointment only
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 14:00