Alexandra Serrano: Nesting in the Wolf Tree

Alexandra Serrano: Nesting in the Wolf Tree
International Photography Grant 2019

The Forest is a state of Mind.” Gaston Bachelard

Nesting in the Wolf Tree is an ongoing photographic series that depicts the forest as a space of the unseen and the mysterious whose immensity engenders admiration, contemplation and fright. The territory I chose to portray is the forest of Fontainebleau, located 60km at the south of Paris. The latter has become over the years a familiar environment, a place to which I became intimately attached, for the house in which I grew up stood at the edge of this very forest. As a child, these woods were my playground, the land of many adventures and extraordinary stories. As a teenager, they became a place of freedom and escapism away from parental authority. As for today, they are a space for introspection and peacefulness.

Nesting in the Wolf Tree © Alexandra Serrano

The series starts as a journey of wander 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 looses himself into the darkest recesses of the forest. Carried by playing and daydreaming he invests, tames and transforms its landscape in an attempt to escape the monotony of everyday life. In this game of hide and seek between fantasy and reality the hut, the cabin, the cave, play an essential role. Natural and unruly, these constructions are part of the forest a mythical land full of mysteries and illusions. They blend into the surrounding nature, taking up the colour of the seasons until their destruction. Temporary shelters or secondary homes they guarantee a quiet and protected rest, a timeless moment away from the world which can still be contemplated without the fear of being seen.

Found or built these refuges escape the ordinary spatial categories, forming unique territories, heterotopias halfway between a geographical reality and human imagination. Hideouts where eclectic findings and valiantly earned trophies are carefully stored. Sacred places where fantasies of freedom and promises of escape are finally fulfilled. But if the hut and the cavern accompany the traveller in his quest, they are also the nightmare that awaits every dream for they can as well be uncanny and forbidden places inhabited by harmful individuals. Ambushes that can quickly turn into prisons if one was to fall into them.

Nesting in the Wolf Tree © Alexandra Serrano

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 features in various publications and has been exhibited in both group and solo exhibitions across Europe, North America and Asia. In 2012, Serrano participated in the Intimate Space project organised by the Brazilian artist Georgia Creimer, for the 2012 Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria. Her project, Between Finger and Thumb was exhibited in Paris at the Festival Circulations(s) in March 2012, as well as in Montpellier for the Boutographies where she was awarded the Exchange Prize, enabling her to exhibit in Rome at Fotoleggendo Festival. Alexandra Serrano´s work was also shown in London, Toronto, Portland and Boston for the 2012/13 Flash Forward Festival, and more recently in the south of France at the Musée des Tapisseries of Aix-en-Provence. In January 2015 her photographs were presented in the 8th edition of Chobi Mela, one of the biggest photography event in Asia and she won in February 2015, the PHOTOBOOK Melbourne Photography Awards. Last November, Alexandra also exhibited at Photo Kathmandu, Nepal’s first photographic encounters.

Website: alexandraserrano.com

Nesting in the Wolf Tree © Alexandra Serrano

Nesting in the Wolf Tree © Alexandra Serrano

Nesting in the Wolf Tree © Alexandra Serrano

Nesting in the Wolf Tree © Alexandra Serrano

Nesting in the Wolf Tree © Alexandra Serrano

Nesting in the Wolf Tree © Alexandra Serrano

Nesting in the Wolf Tree © Alexandra Serrano

Nesting in the Wolf Tree © Alexandra Serrano

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International Photography Grant 2019