Sous Les Etoiles Gallery is pleased to announce "The Play and Staging of the Self: Five Photographers on Identity," featuring the work of emerging and established photographers Laia Abril, Jen Davis, Olya Ivanova, Lindsay Morris, and Chris Rijksen. "on Identity" will be on view from Wednesday, Sept. 10, through Saturday, Oct. 25, with an opening reception on Sept. 10, 6–8pm. An Artists Talk with Chris Rijksen and Lindsay Morris will also be held on Monday, Sept. 15, 7–8pm.
"on Identity" explores the construction of identity and its ongoing evolution, with a special emphasis on the play and staging of the self. Here, the act or experience, rather than biological history, is highlighted. As boundaries between socially and culturally constructed identities, including body modifications, are reexamined within diverse arrays of sexual and gender groups, the malleability of the self is revealed, and a new transparency of the function, role and position of identity emerges.
In this assembly of photographs, the construction of identity varies as radically as the modes of dress in Chris Rijksen’s Gender as a Performance series, in which the artist executes a fluid performance of self-portraiture in both traditionally masculine and feminine attire. In both Laia Abril’s Asexuals Project and Olya Ivanova’s Weirdo the individual is presented as part of a group identity in order to gain visibility, understanding, and legitimacy in an increasingly networked age. In contrast are scenes from Lindsay Morris’ You Are You series, wherein gender non-conforming children play out their interpretations of gender at a weekend summer camp, and Jen Davis’ webcam series, in which Davis pairs self-portraits and screenshots of “Alexi,” an invented object of desire. While diverse in both their approach and aesthetics, each series casts a fresh glance on the making and experience of identity in an ever-changing social landscape.
Laia Abril (b. 1986) is a documentary photographer and researcher raised in Barcelona whose work focuses on issues of women, gender and identity. Her work can be found in the collections of the Musée de l’Élysée and Fotomuseum Winterthur (Switzerland), and has appeared in several publications, including The Sunday Times Magazine, D Repubblica, Le Monde, The New York Times, Burn Magazine, British Journal of Photography, and COLORS Magazine. Recently, Abril was nominated for the Magnum Foundation and the Joop Swart Masterclass. She is currently working on a new book project, "The Epilogue," to be released by Dewi Lewis Publishing.
Jen Davis is a Brooklyn-based photographer best known for her self-portraiture series surrounding issues of beauty, body image, and identity. Her work can be found in the collections of the Akron Art Museum (OH), Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Fine Arts (MA), Museum of Contemporary Photography (IL), Museum of Fine Arts (TX), Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and The Sir Elton John Photography Collection (GA), among others. Her work has also appeared in several publications, including the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Marie Claire, O Magazine, Le Monde, Aperture, and Photography Quarterly. She received her MFA from Yale University in 2008, and her BA from Columbia College Chicago in 2002.
Olya Ivanova, b. 1981, is a documentary photographer based in Moscow, where she studied Russian Literature at Moscow Pedagogical University before turning to photography in 2006. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Russian Reporter, Monocle, Bloomberg, The Telegraph, Neon, and Vice, and has been exhibited in Russia, France, Belgium, Greece, Italy and the United States.
Lindsay Morris is an American photographer currently residing in Sag Harbor, NY. Her series You Are You is currently scheduled to be published by Kehrer Verlag in Spring 2015. Her work has been published in New York Times Magazine (cover story), GEO Germany and GEO International, Loupe, PDN, Marie Claire (France), Elle, Internazionale, Haaretz (Israel), Neon (Germany) and Sunday Life Australia, and has been featured on photography blogs Fraction, Slate/Behold, and abcNews.com, among others. She was a 2013 Critical Mass finalist and nominee for the 2013 Julia Margaret Cameron Award. Recent exhibitions include a solo show at the Center for Fine Art Photography (Fort Collins, CO) and the Catherine Edelman Gallery (Chicago).
Chris Rijksen, b. 1991, is an amorph visual artist and photographer based in Amsterdam, and the winner of the Pride Photo Award 2012 for his series Gender as a Performance. His work has appeared in Magazine Trouw, NRC. next, and BLIK, among others. He received his BA in Photography from the Royal Academy of Arts and his Masters from the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam.