Alex Prager: La Petite Mort

The Celebrated Young Director Shares Stills from Her Latest Short on Sex and Death

French actress Judith Godrèche’s Hitchcockian heroine faces an imminent tragic demise in these ominous scenes from Alex Prager’s La Petite Mort, a surreal exploration of sexual ecstasy and mortality. “They say that orgasm is the one time in life you are closest to death because all your senses but one shut down. I really liked that poetic way of describing it,” explains Los Angeles-based Prager, a self-taught photographer and director whose recent work includes a celebrity series for The New York Times and a fantastical short for Mercedes Benz starring Lara Stone. La Petite Mort is showing as part of Compulsion, Prager’s latest exhibition that will run simultaneously at three galleries: New York’s Yancey Richardson Gallery, M+B Los Angeles and Michael Hoppen Contemporary in London. Referring to the morbid impulse to treat tragedy as a spectator sport, the show interrogates the viewer’s passive complicity with pictures that mix extreme close-ups of melodramatic eyes with cinematic tableaux reflecting media coverage of natural disasters and premeditated violence. Says Prager: “I did not want to draw from specific events, but it was a way for me to deal with the hopelessness I was feeling about the world. Creating a parallel universe where tragedies happen but with a sense of lightness as well.”

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Conversations (2)

  • jacqueline winter
    kunsthaus zurich bought a bunch of alex prager, randall levenson and leroy grannis
    • Posted By jacqueline winter
    • April 19, 2012 at 8:43AM
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  • Seraphima Bogomolova
    I love the stills made into a story... there is definite sadness or 'helplessness' about these shots... I am not sure if it has anything to do with exploration of sexual ecstasy though... I do not feel it in the pictures, but what comes very strong is sensuality of the woman and comparison of her to the cat... I almost feel the silent disapproval of those weird people around her, watching her... I love Hitchcock, so this work of art appeals to me..

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