Zoë Buckman: Every Curve - March 12, 3016 - April 30, 2016
British artist Zoë Buckman's debut Los Angeles exhibition, realizing an ongoing body of work, three years in the making, which explores the contradictory and complimentary influences of Feminism and Hip-Hop in her upbringing.
The installation of hanging vintage lingerie reveals the artist’s fascination with femininity throughout time. The antique undergarments — relics from our past and windows into cultural ideas of female objectification — are reworked using musical text from a very specific time and place. Buckman hand-embroiders the lingerie with lyrics that refer to women from the iconic rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. The text spans from the violent and misogynistic to the wholly sympathetic and pro-choice. This juxtaposition is witty in its provocation and empowered awareness while comparing the Janus-faced relationship between feminism and Hip-Hop both in the 90’s and today.
Buckman grew up in a feminist and activist household in East London. Hip-Hop and its culture was very much the predominant influence on the youth there, and Buckman listened to the music of Tupac and Biggie so much that their words permeated her consciousness and formed part of her every day inner dialogue.
As she grew older and more of aware the everyday sexism around her, she found herself further engaged with her feminist lineage. This produced an internal disconnect between her feminist side and some of the messaging in the music she favored. Simultaneously, she registered that there was positive and uplifting feminist content in a lot of the songs, especially in Tupac’s music. For the Every Curve installation, Buckman keeps the installation personal by limiting the text to that of Biggie and Tupac, as they were the ones that most captured her attention in her youth.
Buckman is drawn to using hand embroidery because of its roots in the female experience and expression and it's place within the lineage of feminist art. She also uses vintage lingerie to evoke the female form and ideas of objectification, whilst highlighting the history of women, female liberation, empowerment and sex. The lingerie garments themselves have all been worn close to the body and by, potentially, several different women, most of who have probably passed, like the rappers themselves. Therefore, the space in which the installation hangs has a strong sense of absence: the absence of these unidentified women, the two iconic men and their respective legacies.
Zoë Buckman (b.1985, Hackney, East London) is a multi-disciplinary artist working in sculpture, photography, embroidery and installation, exploring themes of feminism, mortality, equality and life. Buckman studied at the International Center of Photography (ICP) and lives and works in New York.