Fondazione Spinola-Banna per l'arte
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HOME | Visual arts | Leigh Ledare

Leigh Ledare

The spring 2011 workshop was lead by american artist Leigh Ledare.

Leigh Ledare (Seattle, 1976) uses both photography and video to document his highly erotic relationship with his mother.
There are very few themes that are subject to a complete moral and aesthetic ban despite being an expression of a world where all ideological and ethical barriers seem to have been crossed. Domestic eroticism, family bonds and filial love are, however, a few untouchable themes in the common moral code: empty black holes that not even our imagination should probe. These are the spaces between what is said and what is left unsaid, the dark recesses of our conscience. Leigh Ledare works precisely within these dark regions, with a candour that at times borders on impertinence. Thus defined, you might expect to find a simple example of art-truth in his work, the sort that we have become all too familiar with during the turbulent early years of the new millennium. But this is not simply another excursion into the morally outré that entire generations of artists have prepared us to accept, their desire little more than to shock at all costs, knowingly and affectedly in this barren race towards the extreme.
It did not take long for the young artist from Seattle to define the limits of his story in its crude simplicity: a middle class family from an American industrial metropolis, an anonymous and respectable terraced house, three generations forced to live under the same roof, and a camera and a film camera to record events. But no sooner do the walls turn transparent, shedding light upon the reality of this everyday life, than heaven and hell are revealed in all their complexity, combining to confound us.
As both subject and artist, Leigh becomes a mirror, portraying himself in a dizzying analysis of affections and desires, without concealing or beautifying anything.
Tina Peterson, Leigh’s mother, is the star of all the photos and related video-confessions. An ex-beauty queen now pushing middle age, she is as charismatic as she is contradictory - both angel and demon. By exhibiting her own body in these photographs that she expressly wanted to be taken she claims the right to be recognised in the role of creator and artist.
The sacrificial dimension in which she lays bare her story as a woman and mother exorcises it of any form of voyeurism. Offering herself up to her son’s unforgiving camerawork strengthens the bond between them, expressing a higher unity and one that is greater than the conventions that filial bonds are usually made of.