Alex Prager


Silver Lake Drive

MBAL is hosting the first retrospective of American photographer and filmmaker Alex Prager (b. 1979), one of the most iconic artists of our time. Prager’s unique body of work, built up over the past ten years, consists of photographs and films whose common denominator is a meticulously crafted mise-en-scène. An undeniable sense of Hollywood and pop culture permeates the work of this self-taught, Los Angeles-based artist. This exhibition brings together her most important series of photographs, which together evoke a universe filled with drama,  emotion and humor. Los Angeles serves as both inspiration and backdrop for her compositions – carefully staged scenes bathed in an atmosphere both intriguing and seductive. Prager favors complex sets, unafraid to deploy hundreds of extras who, lost in thought, are given equal standing in her quasi tableaux vivants. She recreates everyday scenes with her trademark attention to detail, yet her artifice is invariably betrayed by a solitary female figure in the crowd, isolated by an angst all her own. The exhibition also includes five films – Prager describes her immersive film installations as ‘full-sensory versions’ of her photographs. At once timeless and era-specific, Prager’s instantly recognizable aesthetic veers between fantasy and hyperrealism. Hers is a world governed by a palpable tension between fact and fiction, superficiality and depth.

This exhibition was produced by MBAL together with Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York. A book – published in English by Thames & Hudson and in French by Éditions Textuel – traces the brilliant trajectory of an artist whose work has been shown in some of the most prestigious museums in the world.