In association with Fringe! Gay Film Festival that ran last
weekend in different venues across East London, Facing You presents
five London-based photographers whose art practice explores the
notion of queer alongside gender in terms of identity and
lifestyle. In addition, the group show provides a study into the
artist and photography's role in the representation of any
subject's personal identity.
These works actively examine and break down gender constructs into
different interpretations of what is deemed masculine and feminine
from each artists' perspectives and personal experiences. If queer
is all encompassing the question is where do you draw the line? Or
as queer theorist Judith Butler asks, is queer "an argument against
The curators Liz Helman and Gemma Rolls-Bentley were keen that the
work selected and shown wouldn't just be about politics but part of
a Fine Art practice and they didn't want politics overshadowing
what is on display. Presented together the images become queer in
their relationship to each other.
Asa Johannesson's portrait of "English Boy Jacob" was the
strongest piece of the group because there was a story/narrative
behind the image, being built into a series of works "The Boy &
the Twins" that focuses on masculinity as a form of self
expression. Jacob who identifies as FTM transgender, nostalgically
conjures the artist's childhood tomboy persona based on her own
history with her twin sister that conveys Johannesson's interest in
the relationship between the viewer and the sitter.
Christa Holka's image "untitled" (pictured) from a series "I Was
There" focuses on the artist's practice of documenting the
communities in which she exists and captures the moment of friends/
peers or strangers, but doesn't seek permission to do so. Holka
explores a new form of archiving that affects story telling,
personal narrative, memory, identity, self-representation and art
practice. Her pictures are usually distributed online via Facebook
which are subsequently shared virally which questions ideas of
ownership and the identity of the subject. About her work, Holka
says that she thinks it is positive for young women to see pictures
of hot girls.
Ryan Riddington shows a piece of work "Walk" which is a
contemplation of cruising culture that relates to performance,
sexual politics and ownership of space. Riddington shows a self
portrait imaging himself as an object of desire, in a picture
within a picture.
In her "Untitled Project" Alex Grace explores how people's
sexuality and gender identity influences the way in which they
symbolically style them selves. Project is untitled as the artist
wants to avoid using labels or assignations.
Jacob Love shows "Boy with a necklace" which portrays a close up
head shot. Love explores the idea that "queer" is not a single act
that positions a subject as different 'in relation' to something
else but a continual psychological process celebrating the notion
The exhibition is showing in a café space that allows further
contemplation about the subject matter of queer identity including
ideas of ambiguity, stereotyping and variations of difference
within a community. So, go see.
For further information about the artists:
Facing You is on show until 21 April 2012 at Long White Cloud, 151
Hackney Rd, E2 8JL, 7am-6pm, daily.
All exhibited works are for sale and a proportion of all sales
will be donated to Gendered Intelligence