Magazine article Artforum International

Alejandra Roux

Magazine article Artforum International

Alejandra Roux

Article excerpt

The work of Alejandra Roux, an Argentine artist who has lived in Madrid for twenty years, makes clear her ongoing belief in the narrative and emotional potential of painting. Based on the story by the Brothers Grimm, her recent exhibition "Hansel & Gretel" evoked the sexually charged fear and violence that, as Bruno Bettelheim ascertained long ago, underlie many childhood stories. Phallic and vaginal metaphors abound, and eroticism is one of the unequivocal drives in this work; it is felt in objects not usually associated with the erotic (like the stole around the neck of the lady in La madrastra [The Stepmother], 2010) and in spaces where one would least expect it, like the hole in the tree trunk in Casa de la bruja (The Witch's House), 2009. Sometimes, for instance in La bruja (The Witch), 2009, which shows a figure whose ass is literally on fire, recalling the Duchampian L.H.O.O.Q., this eroticism is evoked verbally rather than visually.

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Held at the same gallery three years ago, Roux's prior show in Madrid included a group of paintings that revolved around the city and its buildings. The pieces of real estate in those pictures, based on buildings in north Buenos Aires, seemed realistic at first, only to later reveal an underlying strangeness. In "Hansel & Gretel," 2008-11, the series exhibited in this show, the uncanny is based on familiar stories, and not on an everyday landscape. There is, however, the same tension derived from the clash between an innocent appearance and a reality that contradicts it. …

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