XXXORA - The Newer Gender14. Jun - 24. Jun 12 / ended Vyner Street Gallery
Opening Party 18.00-21.00 & 12.00-18.00 Daily
Coming via London and Madrid, XXXora presents her debut solo exhibition, The Newer Gender, at East London’s Vyner Street Gallery from 14-24 June.
Gleefully dancing on the borders of nationality, sex and gender, XXXora is Anglo-Spanish, bilingual and defines as hermaphrodite.
XXXora’s charismatic and seductive personality and her work are closely connected. Her image is unforgettable – jet black hair, deep red lips, her face half-covered in a golden mask crowned by a unicorn’s horn – and her art owes as much to transgender and feminist theory as to Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman and the Vienna Actionists. At the opening party on 14 June, masked performance artists – including XXXora herself – will confront the audience with bodies that sit beyond male and female, even serving drinks as they take the crowd into a world where gender and sex are never less than powerful political and aesthetic tools.
XXXora’s paintings – large figurative works on canvas, with a consistent, distinctive use of greyscale backgrounds and monochrome foregrounds – explore gender, celebrity and capitalism, their bold use of iconography forcing viewers to ask who has become prominent in the neo-liberal age and how they used the social constructs of masculinity and femininity to advance themselves. As questions mount about how Margaret Thatcher will be remembered (and buried), XXXora offers a visual critique of the Iron Lady’s image far more savage than anything in Meryl Streep’s most visceral dreams.
Amongst the highlights are Margaret Thatcher’s Tea Party, where Britain’s first female Prime Minister is joined by others whose fame was magnified by their subversion of gender conventions – XXXora plays with the personas of Grace Jones, Marilyn Manson, Boy George, Freddie Mercury, Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson, who, as she tells the camera in one of several short films, “is like the American dream … born a black man and died a white woman”.
XXXora also exposes the dark side, too often forgotten, of the consensus that upheld the Conservative regime and its ideology. With the winners – androgynous superstars who did not threaten the hegemony of Thatcherism – appear the losers: Marx (and Marxism), and the miners defeated in the battles of 1984/85, frequently neglected in the glossy celebrations of England’s Eighties which reminiscence about the New Pop and the nouveau riche.
This was a time when the brotherhood that supported socialism collapsed, torn apart by the fashionable androgyny of pop culture, and yet queer communities were ravaged by the government’s wilful ignorance of AIDS, and LGBT youth were silenced by Section 28. Now, XXXora traces a line from the suppression of gender variance and appropriation of androgyny to the increasing visibility of transgender identities, looking to a future where femininity is finally considered an equal to masculinity and where the space between male and female extends far beyond our wildest imaginations …
Vyner Street Gallery is situated at 21-23 Vyner Street, E2 9DG in East London, the heart of London’s fashionable contemporary art district. A respected platform for emerging and established artists and photographers, the Vyner Street Gallery is particularly well known for its First Thursday, which showcases new work. Visit www.vynerstreetgallery.co.uk, email email@example.com or call 0797 048 4316.
Burning Bridges promotes XXXora, as well as avant-garde Romanian poet Andrei Codrescu; actor & auteur Crispin Glover; science fiction writer, curator and filmmaker Jacques Boyreau; artist & musician Joshua WF Thomson and others. Visit burning-bridges.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44(0)7595 902255.
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