It all started with them: Nous
Portraits of the women that inspired Préconçue
“The scenography invites the viewer to participate. One could view the artwork as performance: they are all self-portraits, or participative works as the artist allows to be spoiled.In front of “the Diva” you will find acrylic paint for each of you to play action painting like a modern Jackson Pollock.Smearing her image shows a detachment of the artist from her image. The final artwork no longer belongs to the artist but instead the viewer.
“I Think Therefore I Am” invites us, on the white pages of the ironic “Préconçue” magazine, to write about the fashion industry concept of beauty and the consumerism.
One piece is different from this self-focused exploration: “Us” is an anthropological work reuniting 30 portraits of women with a self-presented text. The power of this artwork relies in the message as each woman describes themselves as they would like society to perceive them. Since the very beginning of the project, the artist interviewed almost fifty women from many different social backgrounds. She discovered a lot of unvoiced pain and difficult subjects. These gorgeous women are often silent victims. Close to
finalising this entire collection, Alexandra Mas knows she has to bring these heroines into the light.
“All Of Me”, installation of about 30 self-portraits put together like a mask game: "If I were to have a different exterior, how would you see me, as the same?" In this group we discover “Heart”, photography and painting on metal.
This work is brought together with sound, by Mike Altrin with Alexandra Mas’ voice and text. Préconçue offers a stroll in the deep inner being of the artist. Far from an egocentric work, Préconçue is a voyage in the heart of the studio of a female artist.”
Jean Deulceux Lecturer and Art Critic
La Diva participative art work
All of Me images from the installation
Quotes from the Préconçue book
"Straight and powerful gazes like a sharp weapon and a sorrowful dagger, scrutinize ironically. Opaque, her vision is blurred by these predetermined ideas. One allows prejudice and stereotypes to prevent themselves from seeing the true character of a woman. More open-mindedness, empathy, and generosity and this vale will be torn apart; it will break up in a thousand pieces in the fight for true beauty.
Behind a face with delicate features, or square, sculptural, round, black, white, metise, no matter the looks, lies our true beauty: a combination of our personality, character, and life journey, very often showing tranquillity or sophistication. How many tears made their way under that flawless complexion? How often a fiery temperament sits under a composed exterior?
We consider inner beauty as the most valuable: beauty that reflects the soul. But exterior beauty often carries more weight: the feminine aesthetic embodiment that makes each woman a unique and precious being. True, unaltered beauty is the hardest to reveal, to execute and to defend in our judgemental, subjective world.
Alexandra Mas fights for the revelation of beauty free of judgement and preconceived notions. Her weapons are only her talent, her unobstructed vision of life and women, her intelligence, her natural sophistication, and her deep connection with her inner self:
“Préconçue is a group of twelve pictographic art works (photography and oil painting) and installations, which took four years to create, from the birth of the idea to its completion. Some also illustrate unforgettable encounters, men and women at different periods of my life (from childhood to adulthood) whose gaze impacted me enough to remain forever engraved in my emotional memory. I did not wish to have a self-reflective art show, so during this period about fifty women shared their stories and helped me select the illustrations. Many desired to be present with their portraits for an anthropological perspective.” Tells us the artist."
By Séverine Hartenstein Chef Editor of Red Collector
The Book with all images and texts bilangual, 58 pages
"Que peut-on lire dans une apparence ? Intuition, analyse, jugement… Dès la naissance on nous colle des étiquettes. Ces étiquettes que l’on vous attache où que l’on se colle pour se conformer à un modèle social acceptable, aimable... Identité fluctuante au gré des vents et des courants qui nous proposent des rôles à jouer dans le théâtre de la vie. Jusqu’au jour où l’on prend conscience de la nécessité de s’affranchir des stéréotypes, jusqu’au jour où l’on choisit de revenir à soi. Cette identité mouvante, cette création en devenir me passionne…"
par Valérie Penven, jurnaliste d'art
"Beauty is a state of mind. It has nothing to do with retouched glossy paper images, nor with those standards presented by luxury brands. Beauty lies in our view of the world: it is our own reflection in the mirror that is society. Because beauty inevitably depends on the eye of the beholder."
By Ira de Puif & Indigo
"Many artists approach the theme of the “object woman” throughout art history, but most of them are men. Who better to explore this subject, play with it and even exaggerate it, than a woman always giving more of herself? The artist will dive deeply into the illustration of these heart-breaking visions of the female icon.
Venus’ sculptures often represent the ideal woman in form.
Often painters have followed this imagery to create the perfect woman in art. Today, on runways, in magazines, or at special events, women seek perfection. Some search for the idea of everlasting physical beauty."
By Jean Deulceux, lecturer and art critic
Sound by Mike Altrin and Vlad Sturdza
We used generative music to offer a certain meditational dimension to the project. It plays on the cerebral waves with a very subtle psychological effect. This art show caries a profound personal message, as many of us form subconsciously preconceived ideas. We wanted to take you into these dark areas of our minds, where demons appear. In a profane language we might say this is but an unbearable buzz.
In the texts, we will discover five levels, the woman and four observers named the four judges: The Love-struck Voice, the Hatred Voice, the Novice Voice (the one analyzing himself at the view of another) and the Heart Voice, linked to the portrait with the same title.
Mike Altrin, artist, writer, composer and musician, recorded three studio albums and did different live shows, from intimate art venues to rock clubs and festival stages. Prone to conceptual experimentation, Mike Altrin makes it his job to collide worlds, combine styles, and bring together differently styled musicians, to constantly change, take risks and expand. Vlad Sturdza experiments with different music styles, from 80’s rock to ambient creations.
Alexandra Mas about her collaborator
All of Me, une vanité contemporaine (images from the installation)
Musique: Mike ALTRIN & Vlad STURDZA
Voices: Alexandra MAS & Mike ALTRIN / video Ko-KOK & Alexandra MAS / production 2015
The ironic interpretations of the preconceived ideas
We are the balance of our genes, our cultural heritage, our way in life, our dreams, and also a product of the way others see us. When flattered or insulted, often we adopt it and use it. These derogatory or rewarding views participate actively in our personal development. Complicated, weak, bewitching, wounded, or hilarious, I think of these views as “another me” perceived from another person’s prism fashioned by his culture, heritage, and experiences. We develop ourselves with each encounter, as intimate artworks on the border of incomprehension. When you add ignorance and intolerance to the way others see us, you get preconceived ideas. “Préconçue” -Preconceived- is a group of pictographic self-portraits with which I try to illustrate, in a ironical way using the ridiculous and the kitsch, some labels society likes to associate with women and femininity. After several years of sociological research at every level, I managed to isolate 12 subjects for my artistic experiment, all experiencing these absurd and contradictory stereotypes.
My warmest acknowledgments to the following talents, thanks to whom I could achieve this art work:
Fashion : Eric Tibusch Haute-Couture Paris (tibusch.com)
Accessories: By Flavie jewellery place Vendome (byflavie.com)
Make up : Mariana Miteva (marianamiteva.com)
Hair style and wigs : Harold James (haroldjames.net)
Composition “All of Me” : Mike Altrin & Vlad Sturdza
Communication: Séverine Hartenshtein et Luigi di Donna pour le Red Collector (redcollector.com)
My warmest thanks to Bésikian Photo Studio (besikian.net)