Vanitas With Self-Portrait
My new series ‘Vanitas with Self-Portrait’ is part of my ongoing performance project to document my life, and the illusiveness of life itself. It adopts this name to parallel my work with the symbolic still life paintings, which were to remind viewers of the transience of life and the futility of pleasure. By using myself and my life as a cathartic tool, I focused this series on pushing the limitations of female sexuality and exploring the female erotic gaze on the male nude, which I feel is still rare and taboo in our society. The photos’ meaning is developed in their relation to one another. By juxtaposing photos of my boyfriend, my self and my mom in family homes, a space deemed improper for sexuality, I aim to subvert taboos involving the self and sexuality. By also adding the visceral vitality of food and nature, I want to reveal the thin line between our civilized and animalistic nature. My work is inspired by my family’s hedonistic love of sex and food, which I feel obliged to share this unique, free way of being. The works are intended as large scale prints, where viewers can become immersed in the images. I intend to accompany the photos with a dinner where questions about sex from a female perspective will be shared throughout, in order to incite discussion about the female sexual experience. I hope this will open a discourse around female sexuality so it’s as important and ordinary as eating. With the current political climate in America, I feel it’s paramount to show this work to battle the patriarchy and a government that’s increasingly regulating women’s bodies. But above all, I want this series to inspire women to find strength within and incite in everyone the freedom to be themselves.
My ongoing performance project uses myself as a cathartic material and tool through my constant taking of photos with a point and shoot, a free and constant act, like automatic drawing. I then intertwine these photos, and sometimes text, into groups and series as the final works to exploit deeper meaning. The series are intended for exhibition and printed matter, where each group is in a specific order, to enter viewers into a cathartic experience, hoping to ignite self-knowledge through transference. The composition are influenced by film montage, the documentation of performance art, and the repetitive multiple frames of crime scene photography. I describe my work as performance because the process of creating these works is where I derive meaning, such as the environments or the constant play with reality I have within my daily life and relationships. Using a multilayered process, I seek to blur reality/fiction, intimate/public, cinematic/documentary, art/life, to generate an awareness of the subjectivity of reality and media, to reveal the intimate to break down borders of society and taboos, particularly around sexuality, transcendence, and normality, while highlighting the absurdity of life’s inevitable journey to death.