American photographer Leigh Ledare, currently exhibiting at Wiels in Brussels, took photos of his mom. He took photos of his mom with her boyfriends. He took photos of his mom in her lingerie. He took photos of his mom while she… um…

This is where you go, “Eh?”

His first book Pretend You’re Actually Alive is fairly flat in its obvious intended allure of the Oedipal complex taboo, but, once that uncomfortable tension subsides, it becomes a deeply personal portrait of a former star ballerina prodigy turned stripper turned questionable mom. Sources say it was her idea — not the artist’s — to become such a wide open muse.

The video, writing and photo work unravels the whole dysfunctional relationship of mother and son and of mother and self.

Pretend You’re Actually Alive is also a mapping of Ledare’s mother’s efforts to commodify herself –initially through her precocious childhood talent, later through her overt sexuality, and eventually through the portrayal of herself as an archetypal victim – in efforts to find companionship, attention, financial security, and a benefactor before her youthful, marketable currencies expire.

Ledare was Larry Clark’s assistant once.

This is where you go, “Ohh…”