Alexandra Serrano

Dec 5th, 2017

Alexandra Serrano

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Alexandra Serrano is a French-Mexican photographer. Her practice is
mainly autobiographical and self-reflective, tackling themes such as those of family, childhood and memory. Her work has been featured in various publications and has been exhibited in both group and solo exhibitions across Europe, North America and Asia.

Why did you start making photos ?

As a child and teenager, I was always interested in art, mainly painting and poetry, but never felt any particular attraction towards photography. After graduating from high school I left my hometown for London where I started a BA. I was unsure about what I wanted to do and enrolled in a Creative Advertising course thinking it could be a good career path. On the first day of class, I got lost and found myself in the university basement where the darkroom of the photography department was. I chatted with the technicians and watched the other students working on their prints. This place fascinated me immediately. The silence, the smell and all these images appearing and disappearing under the red light. That’s when photography found me. After a week, I changed my BA to photography and later completed a Masters in Photographic Studies at the University of Westminster. I now live in Paris where I’ve been working as a photographer for nearly 6 years.

Tell us about the work that we’re featuring ?

The work that you are featuring is from my series entitled Nesting in the Wolf Tree. I worked on this project from 2014 to 2016. Over the years, the project matured a lot and the message I wanted to convey became clearer. The series depicts the forest as a space of the unseen and the mysterious whose immensity engenders admiration, contemplation and fright. It starts as a journey of wandering into the woods and slowly turns into a quest for identity scattered with obstacles, singular rituals and secret hideaways. Transcended by the timelessness of the natural world, the visitor loses himself into the darkest recesses of the woods. Carried by playing and daydreaming he invests, tames and transforms the landscape in an attempt to escape the monotony of everyday life.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on the publication of a book on my series Nesting in the Wolf Tree. In parallel to that I’ve also started a photographic project on Mexico and the intimate relationship I have with this country for half of my family lives there.

How do you determine if a work has been a success?

I believe the work is a success when others can relate to it. When my photographs touch and inspire people, when they make them think.

What other forms of art inform your work?

I get my inspiration from everywhere: daily life, exhibitions, literature, cinema… For this particular series I was greatly inspired by Land Art artists like Nils Udo, Andy Goldsworthy and Giuseppe Penone. I also relied on literature a lot: looking at old tales and legends set in the forest. Books like Bachelard’s Poetics of Space and Walden; Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau were good references for this project.

How do you get your practice out when it is stuck ?

I take a break. I Start working on something else and come back to it a few months later. When stuck, it’s also good to show your work to other people for feedback for it can open your eyes to things you couldn’t see before.