Datebook: ‘La Grande Sortie’ at Lehmann Maupin
“La Grande Sortie,” at Lehmann Maupin in New York from September 7 through October 23, is Los Angeles–based artist and filmmaker Alex Prager's third solo exhibition at the gallery. It features Prager’s latest film of the same title in its U.S. premier, accompanied by a series of photographs shot on location during its production in Paris.
Commissioned by the Paris Opera Ballet and shot in the Opéra Bastille, the film follows prima ballerina Émilie Cozette as she makes her return to the stage after an unexplained absence. Cozette’s stage fright, which is met with indifference and, increasingly, hostility from the audience, is expressed in a series of awkward dances, each accompanied by a different, boorish member of the audience, magically transported from their seats to the stage. In this way, Prager captures the anxiety around performance and success that many of us experience daily. The artist’s photographs explore this dynamic between actor and viewer further. Presenting the vantage point of the performer looking out onto the audience, they force the viewer to be the focus of self-conscious awareness. Together, the works in the exhibition ask us to consider how we absorb notions of truth and fiction in visual culture.