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Exploring “The Artificial Now” with photographer Carolina Mizrahi

Interview with an up-and-coming artist

Artistic director and photographer Carolina Mizrahi is a rising talent. She has styled and shot for magazines and huge fashion brands, combining her distinctive fashion photography with her unique art direction and clever set design. Her commissioned work is as creative as her independent work, carrying much of her characteristic style. Elements of surrealism and a strong emphasis on the power of colour blocking are defining elements of her heavily staged photography. Her images are designed to become a vignette, commenting on issues such as women in the media, gender stereotypes and sexuality.

A retrospective of her work – featuring her most recent series “The Farewell Party” – is showing until October 4th at the Daniel Raphael Gallery. Head over to the gallery to experience “The Artificial Now,” an immersive installation in collaboration with painter Morgan Ward.

Carolina Mizrahi the artificial nowCarolina Mizrahi. Avatar Collection. © 

Your work is diverse but strongly linked by the female element. Was this interest in the female form ignited during your work in fashion or does it stem from a personal journey of self-discovery?

My interest in topics such as the representation of women in media, beauty rituals and gender stereotypes were developed during my course at LCF. It is definitely part of a process of self-discovery; the more I learn about myself, the more I find hidden meanings for certain aesthetic decisions or recurring interests.

You’ve mentioned that some of your work is meant to challenge gender stereotypes, which in particular are the stereotypes that you are questioning?

I am questioning beauty and social stereotypes imposed by the media. For example, why are dolls meant for girls and aeroplanes for boys? Why are different genders so strongly imposed in culture and society?

I am also challenging the fact that we are pushed by capitalism to fit within such a narrow canon of beauty. In particular, I am thinking of stereotypes concerning female sexuality as related to dress codes and sexual freedom.

I often feel affected by stereotypes regarding the fact that I am Brazilian, the clothes I choose to wear or the domestic duties I choose to perform or not to perform.

carolina mizrahi the artificial nowCarolina Mizrahi. Ruby. © 

What stereotype do you often find yourself a victim of as a woman, and has this reflected in any one particular work of yours?

I often feel affected by stereotypes regarding the fact that I am Brazilian, the clothes I choose to wear or the domestic duties I choose to perform or not to perform.

For my Milly series, I wanted to question stereotypes related to toys and why toys for girls are so closely linked to housework and beauty tasks. In my Mirror series, I seek to question stereotypes related to ageing and beauty.

Images and videos from your most recent work – The Farewell party – are loaded with decadent sexual imagery. Is this the modern version of “still life”?

I wanted to play with female sexuality in a subtle way, playing with the forces of attraction and repulsion, instigate the viewer to discover what remains implicit in each image.

The Artificial Now Carolina MizrahiCarolina Mizrahi. The Farewell Party. © 

The Farewell Party – How did the name come to be and what does it mean?

I am referencing The Dinner Party, an installation by feminist artist Judy Chicago. The piece is considered one of the first epic feminist artworks speaking about the history of women throughout Western civilization.

What are viewers meant to take away from The Artificial now?

The exhibition focuses on both mine and Morgan’s creative process, the idea of constructing a parallel reality through a medium. It’s interesting to see how artists can have similar creative processes yet work with totally different mediums and produce totally different artworks.

This exhibition is an immersive installation. Do you think the artwork takes on new meaning through the addition of music and food?

No, but I enjoy constructing an installation related to the series I am exhibiting, I think this adds to the viewer’s experience and it’s great to see people interacting with the pieces.

Carolina Mizrahi. The Farewell Party. © 

You’ve spoken about your passion for collaborations (such as the one in The Artificial Now). How do you find and select the artists you work with?

There is no fixed method; I can come across people on social media, while sometimes I might research people or go by recommendation. Although I always enjoy working with others, I consider myself lucky to be able to collaborate with artists that I admire. Many collaborations have led to great friendships.