London has been her homecoming.
Although Paris wasn’t appreciative, it remains the origin of her objects of desire. “Laura here is from an old shop in Bagnolet. It was a vintage shop and she was dressed in retro clothes. The shop owner wasn’t willing to sell the mannequin to me. I went back the next day, explained my project to him, showed him pictures, and voilà here she is!” There’s an obsessiveness in Alice’s acquisition of her figurines. “It’s the faces – they intrigue me. I am never satisfied. It’s my mission to find THE mannequin.”
The video aspect of her art is very important. “Without a video, the sculptures would have no meaning. They would be just decoration – not art.” The video is shot against a green screen wherein she interacts with the mannequins. However, the screen is left as is; without the injection of a false background. “The audience can see the construction of the video in its true form this way – there is nothing fake.” And here lies the beauty – in her quest for the truth.
It’s plain to see that Alice believes all things have meaning: a metaphor for everything. Much like her idol, surrealist artist Salvador Dali. “Not many know that Dali was a very sensitive man. They only know him for his melting clocks. But in his surrealist home he had mannequins. It was his way to overcome the loneliness that came with being famous.”
Her choice of practice is expensive. It cost her £300 to bring in a prized mannequin from France to London. “The newer ones with no faces and heads are cheaper – £50 each.” There are storage costs, too. “I was waitressing at a cocktail bar for some extra dough.” After CSM, she hopes to sell her sculptures to a gallery or museum. However, she understands there aren’t many takers for video art. “This is something I need to fix my head on and find ways.”
The good thing is she can use and re-use the mannequins. “I can paint them, add things to them, remove their parts – they are under my control.” Over time they have acquired scars and scratches, and even been maimed, but she claims “…it is part of their evolution, and in a way mine.”