”Provocation – unlike seduction, which allows things to come into play and appear in secret, dual and ambiguous – does not leave you free to be; it calls on you to reveal yourself as you are. It is always blackmail by identity (and thus a symbolic murder, since you are never that, except precisely by being condemned to it).”
Jean Baudrillard, Fatal Strategies
For Imperialist Nostalgia Lauren Davis presents a new series of collages enclosed in a singular space. Using the technique of digitally assembling existing images, Davis aims at investigating how images express themselves in relation to each other. The resulting photographs thereby deal less with photography as a memory device, but more with what the artist calls “prophecy”.
The digital collages grasp what it means to exist in a body that is constantly dissected and examined, and what it means to be aware of being both a woman and a person of colour. Davis here refers both explicitly to her own politicized black female body and a body that is representative for the female black body per se, and how its identity is consumed and transfigured by white supremacist capitalist society at large.
In the works, this is achieved by collaging visual elements that correspond to both preconceptions and archaic female and black attributes and that are traditionally associated with fertility and the savage: lavish fruit and exotic plants are combined with elegant limbs of a female black body, or body of colour. Set against down-toned monochrome backgrounds, these new bodily constructs appear to be suspended in mid-air. Seen from the distance, the works appear to mock the slick, saturated media imagery we are surrounded by everyday, but when taking a closer look the viewer is encouraged to critically think how these shapes have come into being. The collages thus metaphorically visualize how our identities are shaped and constructed according to what surrounds us, and how the intersection between race, gender and sexuality affect the body as a political subject.
Lauren Davis (born 1992 St. Louis, USA) lives and works in Oslo. Davis graduated with an MFA in Medium and Material-Based Art from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts in 2017 and with a BFA in Integrated Fashion Design from Parsons the New School for Design in 2014. She recently opened her solo exhibition Unnoosed and Straight at SADE Gallery in Los Angeles and has participated in group exhibitions Tour Tourist, Neutral New, Oslo Ø, Oslo (2017), Vårutstillingen, MELK (2016), Textile as Text, Kunstnernes Hus (2016) and Making and Meaning, Sheila E. Johnson Design Center, New York (2014).
in hiding, the secrets of desire come to light, 2017
death, I am eating you, 2017
the body is still warm, 2017
device of conquest, 2017
bite the hand, 2017
there is ordinarily no language for pain, 2017
eaten, consumed & forgotten, 2017
denial & fantasy, 2017