Alex Prager, ‘La Grande Sortie (detail),’ 2015 6 archival pigment prints, single-channel video with color and sound.

Alex Prager | “La Grande Sortie”
Lehmann Maupin
201 Chrystie St, NYC 10011
September 7 – October 23, 2016
Opening Reception: Sept 7, 6-8pm

Los Angeles-based artist and filmmaker, Alex Prager, is back with a new NYC exhibition. “La Grande Sortie” will open on September 7th and centers around the US premiere of her latest film, also called La Grande Sortie. The film will be shown alongside a new series of photographs shot on location during production in Paris. Special, live ballet performances will debut during the opening reception at 6:30 and 7:30pm.

Prager is known for her use of filmmaking as a device to challenge the boundaries between subject and audience and to examine the many psychological layers of the everyday human experience. “La Grande Sortie” continues the artist’s practice with a specific focus on the themes of stress and performance anxiety. The ten minute film was originally commissioned by the Paris Opera Ballet and was shot in the renowned Ópera Bastille. It tells the story of a prima ballerina (dancer Émilie Cozette) wrestling with stage fright on opening night, post a long hiatus. The dancer’s anxiety materializes into a recital of awkward performances with audience members who are somehow transported to the stage. The final act culminates in a fantastical vanishing act.

Alex Prager, ‘La Grande Sortie (detail),’ 2015, 6 archival pigment prints, single-channel video with color and sound.

The photographs presented within the exhibit expand on the film’s exploration of the relationship between artist and viewer. Pieces serve to break “the fourth wall” – given the vantage point of the performer looking out onto the audience, the viewer is forced to be the focus of self-conscious awareness, and must interpret the variety of expressions of the theatergoers that range from boredom and judgment to concentration and enjoyment. An audio recording of ambient theater crowd noise played on a loop further heightens this illusion. As a final unsettling device, mannequins are interspersed among the audience members, creating a surreal and somewhat terrifying juxtaposition between actor and prop.

Alex Prager, ‘Orchestra East, Section B,’ 2016, archival pigment print.

Other Current & Upcoming Exhibitions at Lehmann Maupin:
-“Mr., Sunset In My Heart” – August 12, 2016, New York, West 22nd Street
-“Repossession – August 12, 2016, New York, Chrystie Street
-“Radical Materiality – August 27, Hong Kong, Pedder Building
-“OSGEMEOS, Silence of the Music” – September 8-October 22, 2016, New York, West 22nd Street
-“David Salle” – September 8-November 12, 2016, Hong Kong, Pedder Building
-“Liu Wei” – November 3, 2016—December 18, 2016, New York, West 22nd Street & Chrystie Street
-“Mickalene Thomas” – November 18, 2016-January 14, 2017, Hong Kong, Pedder Building

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