Dark Waters by Aline Alagem at Salon Am Moritzplatz
#SaveTheDate – Berlin, 27.06. – 02.07.2021! In this body of work, Aline Alagem captures moments of secret pleasures and unrestrained longings. Longings that hold the (unattainable) probability of losing yourself into another; into the night; into water.
Dark Waters consists of works from the recent year (with one exception “The Dream Of the Painteress”). Here, Alagem focuses on female heroines from the lushly stylized Giallo cinema genre, which was active mostly in the ’60s and ’70s and set the tone for well-known directors that followed with its avant-garde erotic thrillers. These female protagonists are embracing their desires, chasing these to the ends of what is considered legitimate or norm. As spectators, we follow them in their chase, not knowing where we or they are heading. Expressive and sensual, they shift from hunters to prey, from lovers to plotters, from innocent to killers, then shift back, swirling in a plot where decoding is irrelevant: it’s the mystery of their being that is the most essential here.
“As women, we learned that silence is a virtue, that speaking up makes you undesirable, unappealing, “problematic”. Then we had to unlearn it and start using our voices, attempting to claim as much space as we can. We had to learn to legitimize articulateness, using words as swords, when needed, because debris is often a necessary element in change. And so we transit from looking for validation to being our own authority. But only after that (or before it all) – comes the trophy of dark waters; having secrets. Being our full selves without needing to break it down into its parts. The mystery is a privilege that mostly dissolved from our lives today, I am enchanted with it, I would like to bring some of it back, to an arena where the power of the story is not threatened by its lack of evident logic.“ Says Alagem.
The wood screen piece “L’histoire de L’ombre, L’histoire de sourire“ (The Story of Shadow, The Story of Smile) depicts two scenes. In the first one-two, women are floating in dark waters, connected momentarily by a kiss. The two suns above them either rising or setting suggest an eternal glow and warmth, but also the hint to the inability to merge. The suns, mirrors, make the viewer part of this elusive, intimate moment, while it remains a world inaccessible. The other side of the screen depicts wild horses running in the same (mirrored) landscape. The horses run toward us, the wind blowing their manes. There is no need for decoding a sentimental symbol of freedom such as the wild horses: more than we want to run with the horses, we want to become them. In this piece, they act as a clue- they ask the spectator to look further, beneath the water surface, perhaps inwards, to one’s self.
The titles of the works (except “The Dream Of the Painteress) are a word game Alagem did with the lyrics of Jaques Brel’s renowned “Ne Me Quitte Pas”, changing the location of the words and making new phrases. An ultimate love song of a male lover begging to not be forsaken, promising magic and beauty indefinite; praise for love that is also a eulogy. This blended lot swirling of components of the known tale of a male’s position towards pedestaling women, by a female artist, is a move that activates the same elusive logic that holds the storyline of the exhibition. Alagem disrupts the narrative, positioning the female heroine as the source and subject of desire, rather than its passive object. Ultimately saying, it is not the longing’s destination, but the longing itself that is the “gold chest”, and it doesn’t need to be coherent, for it to be absolute.
Salon Am Moritzplatz is a space for art and culture referencing the mythological Galerie Am Moritzplatz that was established in the same building in 1977 by Die Neue Wilden. Group. It is also in this same very building that Alagem worked within the last two years. This is Alagem’s third solo exhibition in Berlin.