Ana Laura Aláez's work springs from a fascination with fashion, the accessories and make-up with which we construct our identity. That fascination is inevitably linked to advertising, design or the cinema: such are the referents of a work which reflects what has come to be known as youth culture, or "club culture". These are interests which Aláez shares with other artists of her generation, who have taken up the legacy of pop art, filling museums with what until recently had been considered low culture. Club culture celebrates appearance, disguise and a carnival world in which seduction rules.
In Manguito a naked young woman appears against an orange, neutral background, with no kind of space-time coordinates. The girl is in a classic pose: she has her back three-quarters turned towards us and revolves on herself by looking directly at the camera. It is an advertising image, timeless and charged with glamour. And the glamour is rooted in the fact that she is not completely naked because, as in Mujeres sobre zapatos de plataforma, the nude does not exist; the body does not exist without its prostheses in the shape of ornaments. And here the clothes and ornaments are reduced to a sleeve, make-up on the face and the hair slicked back, very short, almost masculine. An advertising image and an ornamented nude, pervaded by a sweet eroticism that moves on ambivalent ground. Aláez is trying to stress the power of the ornament in nudity. The ornament individualises that nudity, brings identity and character, and has the capacity to endow anyone with an image like a film star's. It is a decorative extension of the body, which makes it seductive. To stress the importance of the decorative, futile elements in our life, to reveal that universe of seduction, is really part of a vision of the world that some might call soft. But for Aláez it is a way of freeing herself from the weight of the world, cancelling its tragic conception, and glorifying life in its shifting, fascinating seductive aspects.
In Manguito, and the series of photographs of which this piece is part, Aláez has not departed from her other, eminently sculptural, works. In this case too we might almost speak of sculpture, of photographed sculpture. Indeed, in this photograph the main object that gives the work its title is a sleeve which, as on other occasions, has been made by the artist herself with wires and strange balls with points. An object like the ones that go to make up Mujeres sobre zapatos de plataforma, but which, in this case, does not last; after the photograph, the sculpture has fulfilled its function and disappears. In a way, the important thing is not the object in itself, but its use and meaning in relation to the body that wears it.