Ana Laura Aláez

Even before this exhibition, Ana Laura Aláez’s first solo show in Madrid, it was clear that this artist possessed her own, unmistakable language. Working in various media, Aláez examines how subjectivity is constructed in relation to objects as well as to the body (and even to other subjects). On one level her work is an attempt to suggest “alternative engineerings of the self.” For example, Aláez enters into a dialogue with the world of fashion, but for her it is not simply a question of verifying how such a system of signs reinforces preexisting constructions of subjectivity, but of examining how fashion organizes the body’s experience of itself. Thus, it does not matter much that her dresses, and even her accessories, could never be worn by anyone. The bodies to which these dresses give life are, in effect, “bodies without organs”; the works are more like paraphernalia for erotic or imaginative rituals than clothing. The idea of suspension as well as the use of certain materials (chains, etc.) suggest a state in which sexuality is constantly in flux, in which the subject is constructed through its eroticized relation to the objects that surround it.

The photographic works that contain portraits should not be read as objects, but as subjects, as “producers” of the subject. In one of the photographs the artist herself is portrayed, which points to the fact that in her work Aláez is concerned with how we come to be invested with what we call an “identity.” With an approach that I would venture to call “trans-feminist” and a fresh visual language that engages the body, Aláez lucidly addresses the complexity of contemporary subjectivity—the vertigo of possibilities out of which an “I” is born.

José Luis Brea

Translated from the Spanish by Vincent T. Martin