performance

Boobhead: Above All Other Attributes by Malika Ali

Artist Profile: Annique Delphine. Produced by OTGF Studio. Images courtesy of the Artist.

Objectify Me is fueled by the frustration I often feel from the disproportionate value placed on being aesthetically pleasing above all other attributes. My self-portraits with the boobhead and boobmask were partially born out of the grief I felt about my breasts having changed after I had my child and how much less desirable I now felt. I then grew angry with myself for reducing my worth to the shape of my breasts, and making myself into an object. We are conditioned from an early age that what’s most important about us is the way we look and the way our body feels in someone else’s hands.

What also contributed was a general fatigue from the hypocrisy of the simultaneous sexualization and censorship of female body parts. I’m trying to take a direct approach, sometimes humorous, sometimes serious to break down my own internalized sexism and also to break down boundaries on how female artists are allowed to express themselves. The female body is still censored so much when it doesn’t directly serve the male gaze. A giant boob on my head is funny but it also expresses how empty objectification can make me feel.
— Annique Delphine
Annique Delphine,  Self-Portrait #1   from the series "Objectify Me,"  C-Print, 2015

Annique Delphine, Self-Portrait #1 from the series "Objectify Me," C-Print, 2015

Annique Delphine,   Self-Portrait in Bed   from the series "Objectify Me,"   C-Print, 2015

Annique Delphine, Self-Portrait in Bed from the series "Objectify Me," C-Print, 2015

Annique Delphine,   Self-Portrait #2   from the series "Objectify Me,"   C-Print, 2015

Annique Delphine, Self-Portrait #2 from the series "Objectify Me," C-Print, 2015

Annique Delphine,   Flying Object (Beverly Hills)  from the series "Objectify Me,"  C-Print, 2015

Annique Delphine, Flying Object (Beverly Hills) from the series "Objectify Me," C-Print, 2015

Annique Delphine,   Summertime Sadness   from the series "Objectify Me,"   C-Print, 2015

Annique Delphine, Summertime Sadness from the series "Objectify Me," C-Print, 2015

Work by Annique Delphine was featured in our group exhibition Bang Bang.

Reflections of Longing by Malika Ali

Ralph Dunn,  Narcissus  (still), Video, 2009

Ralph Dunn, Narcissus (still), Video, 2009

The mirror is a recurring material in the works of London based artist Ralph Dunn. His gay identity often reflected in a practice that encompasses video, sculpture, sound, text, photography, and performance. Dunn invites his viewers to step into his personal space, blurring the boundaries between private and public. When watching his work, the breath of the artist is felt. In that breath is longing, desire, want, and release.

Ralph Dunn,  My House is Your House is Your House is Mine , Sculpture | Installation, 2010

Ralph Dunn, My House is Your House is Your House is Mine, Sculpture | Installation, 2010

Ralph Dunn,  Music of the Mountains , Sculpture, 2012

Ralph Dunn, Music of the Mountains, Sculpture, 2012

Ralph Dunn,  Peep , Sculpture, 2004

Ralph Dunn, Peep, Sculpture, 2004

Ralph Dunn,  Neo This, Neo That , Sculpture, 2003

Ralph Dunn, Neo This, Neo That, Sculpture, 2003

Work by Ralph Dunn was featured in our group exhibition Bang Bang.

A Sacred Assembly Line by Malika Ali

Julia Barbosa Landois ,  Veiled in Flesh , Performance, 2008.

Julia Barbosa LandoisVeiled in Flesh, Performance, 2008.

Julia Barbosa Landois tells me what she loves about cemeteries. This conversation has me pondering death and its accompanying rituals. How will I say that final farewell? If my ashes are tossed into a seed pod and offered to friends as a plant, will they find this as funny as I do? Or will they politely decline and leave my husband with a house full of dead-wife-perennials? 

I live in a city of about a million people, and recently realized my grandparents are buried right by the grandparents of my oldest friend. With everyone else’s gravestones there, you get to witness a bit of your community’s history. I like having a physical place in which to honor ancestors, and I like that they are outdoors and exposed to the elements.
— Julia Barbosa Landois

Julia’s work encourages the viewer to embrace the absurdities of death. In Veiled in Flesh, three mice run loose over her body. She remains motionless in a plexiglass casket while attendants spray air freshener around the room. It brings to mind the cultural anxiety of dying in dirty underwear and also the notion that cleanliness is next to godliness. 

Installation view at On The Ground Floor. Julia Barbosa Landois,   Star-Crossed II , Readymade Sculpture & Video, 2013.

Installation view at On The Ground Floor. Julia Barbosa Landois, Star-Crossed II, Readymade Sculpture & Video, 2013.

When the artist stepped away from religion, she did so through her work. Star-Crossed II uses a karaoke-style screen to tell of her dying relationship with Christ. She croons a ranchera remix over a melodic chant. Spanish lyrics scroll behind her while English subtitles deviate from the original ballad...

It is God who has raped you, and this child is his gift.

He never gives you something you're not strong enough to handle.

The song drifts along its own new course, just as the artist did when she abandoned her fear of God, "I grew up primarily with my mother's family, strict Catholics from Mexico and went to Catholic school until sixth grade. My mother attended a church that allowed girls to be altar servers, which was uncommon, so I did that and sang in the choir. In hindsight, this was great preparation for being a performer - preparing the stage (altar) before everyone arrives, dressing in ritual costume, performing a set choreography, and taking non-verbal cues from the actors (the priest and deacon), all under the gaze of a large audience (congregation). My father is an evangelical Christian, so between the two households, I developed a sort of insider/outsider view of these radically different faith practices. Although I now practice neither, they obviously fueled my fascination with religion, ritual, textual interpretation, and the role of gender in all of that. I'm hyper aware of how religion and art come together in the power of objects - paleolithic venuses, golden buddahs, and altarpieces."

When I ask why she's interested in mass-produced sacred objects, she tells me, "The irony! I guess, as an artist, I think of the act of making as sacred, as a contemplative process. And it's hard for me to imagine something sacred rolling off an assembly line. And the workers...what do Chinese fabricators think of an injection-molded Jesus?"

Julia stuffed fabricated novelties inside a ceremonial cake for her project Congratulations. Like the artist Jedediah Johnson, showing with Julia in OTGF's current exhibition, she piles weighty subject matter into delicate baked goods. Jedediah sweetly dealt with racism. Julia's cake tastes like rosaries and pacifiers, catechism, consumerism and little baby Jesus. 

"Congratulations was all about rites of passage -  first communions, quinceañeras, wedding showers, baby showers etc. The cake was stuffed with religious and secular party favors, like a king's cake on steroids. I wasn't sure what the people would do with their slices, but I've performed this piece twice and both times the audience spat trinkets out of their mouths, but still ate all the cake."

The artist, who came of age under a gumbo of doctrines, explain the ways in which Catholicism and evangelical practices can differ.

"Catholicism has centuries of tradition, scholarship, and hierarchy. There's a proscribed ritual for everything, which can be beautiful and also oppressive. The attention to art, architectural space, and music imbues everything with a kind of magic. The evangelical Christianity I grew up with was only hierarchical within the home - otherwise, anyone was free to interpret the Bible as they saw fit, baptize people in the swimming pool, or start their own church in a strip mall. It was jubilant and down to earth, but made it easy to live life without ever questioning your motives. In relation to visual culture, the former is packed with images and the latter almost completely devoid of them."

Installation views from "Frozen in the Permanent Memorial," a solo exhibition at  Sala Diaz , featuring works by Julia Barbosa Landois. 

Installation views from "Frozen in the Permanent Memorial," a solo exhibition at Sala Diaz, featuring works by Julia Barbosa Landois. 

Death, decay, ritual, and religion are prominent themes in her work, so I question if she has gleaned any insights about the afterlife?

"Yes! Live in the moment. Don't wait for an afterlife."

Julia's work is on view as part of the group show, "Bang Bang," which closes Saturday, March 19th. If you wait, you'll miss this moment as well!