Her last solo exhibition titled Fuckboys at Roman Fine Art caught our eye, as well as her sarcastic title. Previously having curated A retrospective on eroticism, Alexandria Lira is familiar with sexuality meeting art. Memory and ritualism in Fuckboys strangely evoke Christian Boltanski – the pile of stranger’s possessions, the mystery and required anthological eye. However, rather than a remembrance of loss, Lira is light-hearted. She inverts stereotypical power roles and questions the structure of modern sexuality.
You take Tinder’s disposable hook-up culture head-on creating a robust canvas, ‘objet trouvé’ and no sex – all organized through the same channel. Is your memorial-like work a comment on disposability and modern memory?
Yes, it very much is, as it seems the dating world has become like a McDonald’s drive-through. You want and can get that quick fix, but you know at the end of the day you may just regret it.
How do you exhibit the stolen items?
I have them all casually laid out on a pedestal, surrounded by all my subjects so that the audience can personally pick up the items to compare and contrast them with each of the subjects in the paintings. Kind of like a fun investigative mind game.
Did repetitively visiting people posing and stealing a possession begin to feel ritualistic?
Indeed! It became sort of an addiction that was super exciting, as you never knew what you were going to walk into, experience, or challenge yourself with. I felt like I was playing the role of a spy up to no good, with a need for something dangerous and captivating.
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I read the items are intended “to accompany and add to the violation and performative nature of [your] sessions”. Would you say these unseen sessions are part of the art piece?
Yes, I would like to say it was certainly a part of the ‘spy-like’ performance I portrayed throughout my process. Why blow up your own spot when you’re playing the role of the violator?
Lying through your pick-up line, “It’s all about men’s empowerment”, and then stealing bring up questions of consent. Do you resolve this?
I believe I do. Each subject is portrayed as almost regal. Honestly, my goal was to purposely emphasize a tone of majestic, old-master style work – my take on a modern-day renaissance painting referencing Titian or Michelangelo. It brings a sense of beauty behind the irony of each subject’s story.
Is masculine vulnerability underrepresented today?
I think it's respected within certain circles, but overall pretty underrepresented. I feel the human eye has historically been brainwashed for centuries to represent the female figure because, for some reason, viewing soft features, femininity, and fertility is what we think is the right thing to project at the end of the day.
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Standing over the men you shoot observes the power dynamic between artist and subject; it also inverses the power dynamic in normative heterosexual interactions. Did you intend to create a reflection on sexuality and power?
Yes, the role I play is somewhat of a ‘male character’, whereas I am the one with the power, somewhat like a dominatrix. I like to call myself a fuckgirl when I'm shooting them while they are totally exposed and vulnerable in their bedroom.
It seems you (rather than the men) enter the role of fuckboy in this sexual transaction of naked skin. Is the title Fuckboys intentionally ironic?
Most definitely. You guys get it!
In my research, there are contradictory definitions of whether your series aligns with feminism. Could you please clarify this?
I’m just defining my personality of who I am behind the work, with an attitude of just not really giving a fuck. My work is based on exploitation and risk while delving through the sexual psyche of how far I can push the limits of that through my documentations.
Can you give us a teaser of your sequel?
Mmm… Let’s just say, do you think monogamy is hard to find?
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