The Photography of Alina Noir
Born in Romania in 1981, Alina Noir is an visual artist, author and choreographer. Her education in literature and art history was internationally based with studies in Romania, Germany, France, Sweden and New Zealand. Noir studied classical and contemporary dance at Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal and Lyon’s École Nationale de Musique de Danse et D’art Dramatique. This multi-cultural academic background has had strong influence on her work as a photographer.
Alina Noir maintains an artist studio in the Renaissance city of Lyon, France, where she works with a team of ballet dancers and actors. Her work is influenced by the city’s classical Renaissance and Baroque paintings, in particular the works of Michelangelo Caravaggio. Initially focused on color photography, Noir has incorporated black and white images and re-colored images into her oeuvre. She shoots both theatrical and nude photography with an emphasis on the interaction of bodies in a given space. A variety of emotions and situations, such as fragility, force, solitude, despair and connection, are expressed in Noir’s images.
For each of her photographic projets, Noir shoots a series of images that often contain an autobiographical dimension. An early project entitled “I Turned My Blood Into a River” was a personal anthology of legends and myths. Noir’s “Cathedrals” was an exploration of her favorite artistic themes presented more mathematically in concept. This project examined the intricate ways , other than sexual or emotional, in which human bodies connect in space. During the winter months of 2018 to 2019, Noir created “Sculptures in the City”, a series of sixty digital photographs of random constructions and urban landscapes in Montreal. Based on the 1930s Surrealist art form of objet trouvé (found objects), the project’s impersonal images evoked sensations of both strangeness and displacement.
In 2019, Alina Noir produced a two-part project “La Bal-Act One” and “La Bal-Act Two”. The first part was a series of photographs taken during May and June of 2019 in which characters were involved in scenes both improvised and choreographed. In the images, references to art history and popular culture were combined with contemporary issues, such as gender, identity and body control. The shooting for “Act Two” took place in Lyon between July and September of 2019. These images were studies of choreographed movements that examined how desire, vulnerability, and intimacy become motivating forces in one’s life. The figural gestures portrayed in the photographs draw upon gestures exhibited in Renaissance paintings.
In January of 2020, Noir created “The Magic Square” series at the Institute for Contemporary Art during Lyon’s fifteenth Biennial for Contemporary Art. Inspired by Albrecht Dürer’s 1514 engraving “Melencolia I”, this series of photographs explored the notion of contemporary masculinity and examined its relationship to the male image in western art. In 2021, Noir created the series “Ships Anchored in Fog”, a set of nine self-portraits visually inspired by statues from classical Antiquity. These photographs translated certain aspects of mathematical set theory into the art of dance. The uniqueness of the dance movements, reinterpreted through the choice of statues, became static choreography which allied the subliminal creative idea with infinite sets.
Alina Noir created a collection of twenty dance performances from 2018 to 2022 among which were “Keeping This Body Alive”, “Black Bird”, and “No Ghost Just A Bell”. Her “Chrysanthèmes” was a 2021 performance at Lyon’s Maison de la Danse that translated certain aspects of Ferdinand de Saussure’s Semiotics theory into dance movements. The Semiotics theory provides a framework for understanding how humans use signs to make meaning of the world around them; however, an important assumption of this theory is that signs do not convey meaning that is inherent to the object being represented. The performance piece is centered around the symbol of the chrysanthemum as seen in two different cultures, Alina Noir interpreted the chrysanthemum in Romania (a symbol of mourning, death and rebirth) and dancer Mio Fusho interpreted the flower in Japan (a symbol of light, hope and metamorphosis).
Alina Noir’s photography has been featured in many print and online publications. She has exhibited her work in both collective and solo exhibitions in Lyon, Paris, Berlin, Potsdam, Prague, and Geneva.
Alina Noir’s portfolio site, which contains contact information and images of her work including installations and performance videos, is located at: https://www.alinanoir.com/index.html
Note: An article describing Albrecht Dürer’s 1514 engraving “Melencolia I” can be found at the online site of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art located at: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/336228
Top Insert Image: Alina Noir, “Sculptures in the City” Series, 2018-2019, Color Print
Second Insert Image: Alina Noir, “La Bal-Act Two” Series, 2019, Color Print
Bottom Insert Image: Alina Noir, “Sculptures in the City” Series, 2018-2019, Color Print