Solo exhibition of Julie Alegre artist, curated by Conchi Alvarez
This is Julie’s seventh solo show at STOA. The creative process of this French artist is focused, since the start, on femininity. To her, it is not an object of interest to investigate whether or not her artistic sensibility is specifically feminine, nor if her work can be associated with the “vaginal iconology” of Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro. However, she does share with Chicago a “positive” image of the mother in the face of patriarchy.
In this exhibition she resorts, as usual, to what is undoubtedly her favourite technique, coloured inks on paper, in works that unravel her concept of motherhood. It is very interesting to observe that she is a creator who, not having been a mother, intermittently returns to this theme as a possible recurrence of an unresolved matter.
In “Maternity”, Julie elaborates a narrative based on sensations and impressions that begin at the moment of gestation (“Expecting”, “Pregnant”, “Gestating”, “Cravings”), which link with pieces that elevate the mother as “Eternal” and “Feminine”. She continues the story with the development of the relationship between the embryo and the mother (“Home”, “Teaching to dream”, “Searching for a name”). Then, the end of pregnancy, “Birth”, which gives way to the creative apotheosis in the puerperium, where the baby is the centre of attention of his mother in works such as “Cradling”, “Rocking”, “Breastfeeding”, “Lullaby”, “Silk caress/cuddles”. Just as the feminist Mary Kelly establishes a hiatus about motherhood at the moment when mother and son finish breastfeeding, Julie ends her narration at that moment, where the mother-son communion is broken.
There is a strong sense of identification between Julie and the foetus, the pregnant baby who lives her very personal paradise in the cosy floating capsule of maternal amniotic fluid. Kandinsky said that “the artist, who throughout their life is very much like the child, is often more able than another to receive the inner resonance of things.” And that happens in Julie, whose spirit harbours that primordial creativity analogous to the primitives, just as it happened to the Fauves. That strong attraction of Julie towards primitivism is evident in the use of flat colours, certain strident dissonances, and drawing of essential lines to capture scenarios that only exist in her subconscious, far from all reason.
Like her admired Matisse, Julie tells stories in which she conveys a certain musical sense so that, in her works, the forms are something melodious. Like the great master, it contains an orientalising rhythmic fluidity, coming from her beloved North Africa, from Algeria that permeated Julie’s DNA forever since childhood, architectural forms from her beloved medinas, and more profusely her particular hand of Fatima.