Much of Alex Gardner’s work depicts black silhouettes dressed in white, in a surreal setting of angular surfaces and silky fabrics. The latter give us an impression of softness, counterbalanced by a feeling of distance, because we can’t tell who is hiding behind these characters. Perhaps everyone. Perhaps they are the figure of the growing anonymity that characterizes our society, where everyone wants to be seen but ends up blending into the mass to be forgotten immediately. These elements raise several questions, first about racial identity, the role of gender, but also the coldness and anonymity of digital interactions. They also leave room for everyone to transpose themselves into the picture, and to feel concerned by the scene, adapting it to their own situation and feelings.
We also feel a palpable tension between the characters, who are certainly together but in strange and twisted positions. Is it a collaboration or a struggle? Does the new digital paradigm unite or separate us? Does it bring us together, or put us in competition? With Don’t Hate Yourself (2021), we see a concentration of all the elements mentioned above. We feel an impression of attraction and rejection, a contradiction between divorce and union, between affirmation and negation, and between plastic art and digital art. Like these two characters intertwined and mixed, the two mediums of art that one day were toying with each other, begin to mingle to form one. But are they really compatible? Will the balance last?