Writing on others' works is as risky a business as it is potentially interesting. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of the exercise is the act of forcing oneself to observe the work, seeking to uncover the nuances and truths which make it revealing and unique.
In the work that Alejandra Baltazares presents at the Centro Cultural Border there are many nuances and highlights after a six-year process of research and production that has now come to an end.
It is not the same to look at a photograph of an impeccably polished nail on a white background and a symmetrical frame, as it is to look at a photograph of an unpolished nail on a white background and a symmetrical frame. This variant, which comes to my mind when I look at the photographs of the series "Manicure", I do not think it was among the options discarded by the artist. Possibly Alejandra wanted to portray beauty in dialogue with the imperfect, emphasising the exaltation of the real, for the mere fact of being so.
When in Bolivia the artist photographed the hairstyles created by "Pippo", the famous beauty contest stylist, she did not seem to be looking for the anguish of such a great event or the anxiety it brought on its main characters. If not, we would have a headshot photograph in the foreground of an aspirant as tense as she is beautiful. The hairstyles that are presented in the series were not done on a Bolivian queen, but on the artist herself who embodies the archetypal character as part of her research process. Once the hairstyle is done, the artist documents the action, giving priority to the resulting object, highlighting the hairstyle and ignoring the face, focusing on the beauty implicit in the use of lines, highlights and volumes, revealing an architectural composition and ignoring the kitschy paraphernalia that can be used to contextualise the design.
When I watch the video, I find a proposal in accordance with the treatment of the two photographic series. To the rhythm of the sensual melody of "Je t'aime, moi non plus" by Gainsbourg, the piece shows the hands of a surgeon shaping and looking for a new volume for a patient's breasts. The audiovisual language, closed frames, focal lighting and linear editing, describe the action as a process of searching for the beautiful object from the sculptural construction based on classical canons.
The works of Alejandra Baltazares are not an apology for woman's role as an aesthetic agent, nor are they a critique of society's demands. Alejandra's works focus on everyday practices for the creation of beauty, through a narration focusing on its raw materials, obeying that which is dictated by its own aesthetic. Independently of the fact that the result of applying these materials or resources on an individual is socially accepted as beautiful or not, the artist reveals that the process itself, the ritual alone, contains beauty in the mere fact of seeking to evoke it.
Director CC Border, Mexico