Viscous Expectations

50 x 50 cm, c-print, 2003

Red Room # 1
50 x 50 cm, c-print, 2004

Birds in her Throat she was Dreaming
50 x 50 cm, c-print, 2003

Waking into the Transient Membrane
of such Delicious Moisture

50 x 50 cm, c-print,  2003 

My color photography is a theater of psychological and physical transformations which reveal a luminescent excess.  This excess combines both the “civilized” and the animalistic.  The word monster shares its root with the verb, to demonstrate.  I choreograph scenes set in both quotidian and mythical environments. These constructed relationships frequently subvert notions of domesticity; for example, my current series, The Gestation Project, in which I photograph 10-30 pregnant women in public spaces such as the zoo, hair salons, bookstores, nightclubs, boxing rings, empty auditoriums.

The woman’s pregnant body represents the simultaneity of inside and outside. Her private is undeniably public.  Her body is raw and exposed and contained at the same time.  Life within her is clearly visible 
from the outside.  Because her corporeality cannot be concealed, the pregnant woman is exempt from societal constraints that obscure body awareness.  The pregnant woman is the ideal subversive (challenging cultural norms) in our society because her womanness is utterly present. She is sexual without objectification--the embodiment of sexual and corporeal empowerment. She is the alchemist who embodies and transgresses notions of difference; opening the door for identification and disidentification from others. By juxtaposing bodies and body fragments with organic and synthetic materials and environments, I play with the illusory distinctions between “them and us”:  the familiar and the unfamiliar, what is supposedly comfortable and what puts us on edge.  The pregnant woman, like the environments 
in which she is photographed, is both quotidian and surreal.  Her body exudes with the excess of intimacy.

My work explores this eroticism as a tool for cultural resistance.  The photographs’ characters, which include my own body, become hybrids of machine and animal which populate dream-like worlds.  Through a visual carnal language, these polymorphic bodies are engaged in ambiguous ceremonies.  Frequently, 
for the characters, these silent spectacles evoke self-awareness and discovery.  Similarly, the audience has an opportunity to read their own story into the photographic scenarios.  Our improvisational communication underlies my exploration of eroticism.  For me, eroticism is any intensely satisfying sensation of connectedness to oneself, to others, and to one’s environment.  It is continually born out of the recognition of the self in relation to the whole and the mind in relation to the body.  This notion of eroticism resists homogenized social relations and self-censorship.  Eroticism can be a key to examine the unconscious mind by interweaving the very interactions that are often prohibited or suppressed under social norms.  Life and death become interchangeable. 

I construct a seemingly irrational cohesion of fragments with sensuous objects, shapes, and colors.  The quotidian in relation to the sensual sets up a ritualistic narrative. My photographs tell contradictory stories about a precarious, almost dangerous, inverted domesticity.  I create ambiguous environments in which 
the characters might appear as though they just had an orgasm, are in a deep (death-like) meditative state.  These egoless, emptied bodies become a catalyst to unravel social values and cultural assumptions—laying bare the possibility for intimacy, vulnerability, and inevitably power and strength.

Cara Judea ALHADEFF, San Francisco, March 2005

North American, born in 1971 in Boulder, Colorado; lives in San Francisco

1993-5    Pennsylvania State University (PSU), PA
Bachelor of Philosophy degree with honors in Corporeal Politics (self-designed interdisciplinary major);
              minor in Photography; Summa cum laude
              First time student graduated in both Scholars' and Bachelor of Philosophy Degree
  Sarah Lawrence College (SLC), NY

2006      Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle, WA
             Erotic Art Museum, Hamburg, Germany

             ST’ART 06 (Strasburg Art Fair, France – presented by the Erotic Art Museum, Hamburg)
2005      Voyeur Project View, Lisbon
             Van Campen & Rochtus Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium
2004      Moving Benefit, 848 Performance Space, San Francisco
             ODC Theater, San Francisco
             From There to Here-Captive Nomads, Durchgang Gallery, Hamburg, Germany
2003      Thicker than Water, Flatfile Photography Gallery, Chicago
2002      Performance Panoply,
Jon Sims Center for the Arts, San Francisco
2001      Tongue and Trigger, Jon Sims Center for the Arts, San Francisco
1999       The Beauty of Disorder, Venue 9,
San Francisco
1998       Gravity Sag, Venue 9,
San Francisco
             Inside the Visible, Crucible Steel Gallery @ cellspace, San Francisco
             Corporeal Politics, Luna Sea, San Francisco
             Matter Adheres to Matter, Oakland Federal Building, CA
1997       Viscous Expectations, SF Art Commission, City Hall,
San Francisco
1992-5    Five solo exhibitions,
Pennsylvania State University

2006       Artists Gallery, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
2005       Artists Gallery,
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
2004      Pierogi Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
             PHOTO San Francisco, represented by Freddie Fong Gallery, San Francisco
2003      Armory Show, represented by The Budget Gallery, San Francisco
             Recent Acquisitions, Atelier Studio Gallery, San Francisco
2002      Blood Show, Quotidian Gallery,
San Francisco
             What’s New, Atelier Studio Gallery, San Francisco
             Picturing Modernity:  Photographs from the Permanent Collection, San Francisco Museum of Modern
             Politically Incorrect, Flatfile Photography Gallery, Chicago
2001      Botanica: The Verdant Garden , Flatfile Photography Gallery, Chicago
             Poor Walls, Quotidian Gallery, San Francisco
2000       Emotionally Annoyed, ESP Gallery,
San Francisco
             Women’s Work Jubilee, Footloose Productions, San Francisco
1999       Wall to Wall Nudes, Sande Webster Gallery, Philadelphia
1998       Face, Queer Cultural Center,
San Francisco
             Queer and Kinky Danger, Gay and Lesbian Historical Society, San Francisco  
Troubling Customs, Ontario College of Art & Design and Katherine Lane Weems, The School of the
  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
             Annual Members’ Exhibition,
Berkeley Art Center, CA
1997       Generations,
A.I.R. Gallery, New York
             Texas National’97, Juried by Starn Twins, Stephen F. Austin University, TX
1996       Death and Rapture, Luna Sea Women’s Exhibition,
San Francisco
             Art of the State Pennsylvania 1996, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA
             A Woman’s View, Painted Bride Gallery,
             Photography ‘96,
Abington Art Center, PA
1995       Not the Same Old Photo Show,
Pennsylvania School of Art and Design
             Body of Evidence: The Figure in Contemporary Photography,
Cleveland State University Museum
             International Exhibition of Erotic Art, Griffin Gallery,
Miami, FL
1992-5    Ten group exhibitions, Pennsylvania State University
1992       Wall of Portraits of Women by Women,
University of Wisconsin, Madison
             Undressing Our Wholeness: A Celebration of Women's Art, Sarah Lawrence College, NY

2004     In-Sight, collaboration with Kunst-Stoff Dance Company (photographs projected onto floor-to-ceiling sets,
            surfaces and objects), ODC Theater, San Francisco
     Up to Code, Oberlin Dance Company, ODC Theater, San Francisco
2001     Tongue and Trigger, Jon Sims Center for the Arts, San Francisco
1999     The Beauty of Disorder, Highlight of Women’s Work, Venue 9,
San Francisco
1998     Gravity Sag, Women’s Work Series, Venue 9,
San Francisco
            Meet the Beat, The Luggage Store,
San Francisco
            Salon 455A, Studio
Valencia, San Francisco
1997     Corporeal Politics,
Luna Sea, San Francisco
1995     Torrid Zones,
Pennsylvania State University

2001      Still Life:  The Immobile Object, UC Berkeley
             Foto Forum, Guest Lecturer, SFMOMA
1997      Viscous Expectations, San Francisco Art Commission, City Hall
1994      Sephardic Jews: 1300 Years of Identity and Assimilation,
University of Northern Iowa         
             Women in a Transnational World, Rutgers University, NJ
             Ethnicity: Global Perspectives, National Association for Ethnic Studies and Kansas State University ,MI
             Celebrating Women’s Studies,
University of Delaware, MD
             Third World Feminisms, Pennsylvania State University
              Artist Talk Series, Pennsylvania State University
1992      New Perspectives on Jewish Identity and Black Jewish Relations,
Sarah Lawrence College, NY
            The Sephardim in the Americas, Sarah Lawrence College, NY

2005      Performance Art Journal (pending)
Belgium (pending)
2004      Efemmeral Flesh: Corporeal Utterances, Poetry by Jill Nagle and photographs by C.J. Alhadeff,
             Mel Blardo, shiloh burton, Brett Fisher, and Jill Nagle, Audacity Press, CA

             Mein Heimliches Auge, Das Jahrbuch der Erotik XIX, Konkursbuch Verlag Claudia Gehrke, Germany
             Art and Opposition, San Francisco Chronicle, May
             Von Dort Nach Hier, Szene
Hamburg , April
             Art on the Milky Way,
Hamburg : Pur, April
             Flow, Poetry by Anne L. Francis and photographs by C.J. Alhadeff, Fast Back Books, CA
            San Francisco Armory Show, Best of the Bay, Bay Guardian
2003     Tip of the Week,
New City : Chicago , The Reader, January
             Documentary by Japanese film maker, Aoi Tabata
2002    “Runway,” Feature Profile on European Television
             French-American Television, Public Broadcasting
2000     Here Kitty, Kitty, SF Weekly, February
             Critic’s Choice: art, San Francisco Bay Guardian, February
             Emotionally Annoyed, Editorial Profile,, January
1999     Varieties of Naked Experience: Particulars of the Human Body in Recent Art, New Art Examiner, October
             Inside the Visible, San Francisco Bay Guardian, June
             New Art Examiner, March
1997     For Art’s Sake, SF Chronicle, November
1996     “Negotiating the Discursive Body,” Calyx: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women
1994     Interpreting Our Imagination, Voices of
Central Pennsylvania
1995     Definitely Not the Same Old Photo Show, Happenings, Intelligencer Journal, November
             Student, like the masters, must face censorship, Daily Collegian, January
             Voices of
Central Pennsylvania , May, June, July, August
             Daily Collegian, June, October
             artsave/People for the
American Way , annual edition
             Sarasota Arts Review, February
             Voices: January, February, October
Daily Collegian: January, September, Artist Tests Community’s Limits, October
             The National College U Magazine: April
             Artsword, vol. 3, No. 1: spring issue
             The Subject:  The Body, The
Cleveland Free Times, October
             Bodies real and surreal, warts and all, The Plain Dealer, October
             Happenings, Intelligencer Journal, November
1992     New York Times, February

2002     Nominee for John Gutmann Photography Fellowship
2001     Four month Residency at
Jon Sims Center for the Arts, San Francisco
     Award of Excellence, Manhattan Arts International, NY
1995     First Prize National Association for Ethnic Studies, Student Research Competition
             Honors medal for highest distinction, PSU
             First Prize Photograph, International Exhibition of Erotic Art, Griffin Gallery,
             Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award in Women's Studies Program, PSU
1995&’3 Honorable Mentions, Zoller Gallery Undergraduate Juried Exhibition, PSU

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Numerous Private Collections

Represented by SFMoMA's Artists Gallery, Fort Mason, San Francisco

Caroline Pagès is Cara Judea Alhadeff's agent in Europe. She is based in Lisbon: [email protected]