Pretend You're Actually Alive. Photographs by Leigh Ledare. PPP Editions, New York, 2008. Unpaged. Large quarto. Edition limited to 1000 copies. Boldly signed across an image of a nude man with gun (a clear homage to his mentor Larry Clark). Stiff printed wrappers. Photo-illustrated slipcase. Numerous color and black and white reproductions.
Pretend You're Actually Alive catapulted former Larry Clark assistant Leigh Ledare to the front ranks of the school of 'cathartic ejecta', to borrow a wonderful turn of phrase from critic David Velasco's 2008 review of the artist's work. He goes on to say, "Not since, respectively, the Families of Nan and Mann redefined the stakes for documenting one's own tribe has an artist carved such a dramatic path into the ambivalent territory of the photographer-subject relationship."
From the publisher:
"Composed in its entirety of photographs, written anecdotes and ephemera, Leigh Ledare’s first book, Pretend You’re Actually Alive, is a searingly intimate investigation of the artist’s relationship with his mother, a once-promising prodigy ballerina.
"Both a revealing family album, and an unfolding of the relationship between Ledare and his muse/mother, Ledare’s photography and video work involves creating strategies to navigate the themes embodied within this extraordinarily complex relationship. Pretend You’re Actually Alive can be viewed as an archive of a mother and son’s shared, private moments amidst the desperate attempts to renew her identity as a dancer - this time working as a stripper in a club beside her parents’ apartment. Pretend You’re Actually Alive is also a mapping of Ledare’s mother’s efforts to commodify herself –initially through her precocious childhood talent, later through her overt sexuality, and eventually through the portrayal of herself as an archetypal victim – in efforts to find companionship, attention, financial security, and a benefactor before her youthful, marketable currencies expire.
"Pretend You’re Actually Alive is foundational to Ledare’s continuing investigations around portraiture, issues of authorship, collaboration, performance, authenticity, and an ongoing inquiry into the ways in which personal boundaries complicate subjectivity."--the publisher
A few spots of wear, otherwise Fine; not-quite-fine case with light wear to extremities.