Leigh Ledare (born 1976, Seattle, Washington) uses photography, archival material, text and film to explore human agency, social relationships, taboos and the photographic in equal turns. Through a wide span of artistic practices, Ledare examines issues related to desire, identity, and morality.Ledare first gained recognition through his exhibition and artist book titled “Pretend You’re Actually Alive” (2000-2008), which examines the complex relations between the artist and his mother – namely, how she used intimacy, eroticism, and vulnerability to negotiate the balance of power within the family. "The resulting images are often sumptuous, saturated with color, and surprisingly beautiful. But they also, and importantly, disconcert the viewer, making us uncomfortable, and, in the process, raising questions about the functioning of the image and the construction of subjectivity in contemporary culture." Ledare has continued this examination into personal relationships with works that feature images of his collectors, patrons, and ex-wife, often in sexual situations.In 2009, Ledare was included in an exhibition "Ça Me Touche" curated by Nan Goldin in Arles France as part of the annual Rencontres d'Arles photography festival. Writing in the New York Times, Roberta Smith said that Ledare is "taking us deep into the darkness and torment that drive many artists." In the series "Personal Commissions" Ledare "answered personal ads from women whose desires echoed those of his mother’s, and paid them to photograph him in their apartments, in a scenario of their choosing."He has taught at Yale University; California Institute of the Arts; Columbia University, New York; New York University; and the Fondazione Spinola Banna per l’Arte, Italy.

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