Deborah-Joyce Holman: Love Letter / Galerie Gregor Staiger Zürich

Love Letter is the title of Deborah-Joyce Holman’s solo show at Galerie Gregor Staiger in Zürich, Switzerland. Deborah-Joyce Holman is a multidisciplinary artist based between London, UK, and Basel, Switzerland.

Deborah-Joyce Holman’s work has recently been shown at Oregon Contemporary (2023); Galerie Gregor Staiger, Zurich (2022); Cordova, Barcelona (2022); Istituto Svizzero, Palermo (2022); schwarzescafé, Luma Westbau, Zurich (2022); Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2022); Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris (2022); 7th Athens Biennial (2021); Cherish, Geneva (2021); Yaby, Madrid (2021); Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (2021); La Quadriennale di Roma (2020); Material Art Fair, Mexico City (2020); Mikro, Zurich (2019); Fondation Entreprise Ricard, Paris (2019); Auto Italia, London (2019); Alienze, Lausanne (2018); OSLO10, Basel (2017), among others.

From 2020-2022, Deborah-Joyce Holman worked at East London arts organisation Auto Italia first as Associate Director. Deborah-Joyce Holman is the founding director of 1.1, a platform for early-career practitioners in arts, music and text-based practices, with an exhibition space in Basel, Switzerland, which ran 2015 – 2020. Deborah-Joyce has curated the 2018 and 2019 annual group exhibitions for the arts and music festival Les Urbaines, Lausanne, entitled …and their tooth, finest gold and Cinders, sinuous and supple respectively, presenting newly commissioned works by over 15 international artists.

Upcoming exhibitions include a solo show at Kunsthalle Bern. Deborah-Joyce Holman’s exhibition at Galerie Gregor Staiger runs until July 22, 2023.

Deborah-Joyce Holman: Love Letter / Galerie Gregor Staiger Zürich. Zürich (Switzerland), June 9, 2023.

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Official text:

The practice of Deborah-Joyce Holman is concerned with the relationship between popular visual cultures and capital and the intertwined politics of representation. Holman contrasts the exploitative potential of how images are circulated with approaches of artistic and cinematic subversion, refusal, and resistance, using differing approaches across media such as video, sculpture and painting. For the first exhibition with the gallery and with that the first comprehensive exhibition of their painting practice, Deborah-Joyce Holman expands on a body of work that originates in research of imagery from film and television series featuring Black lesbian characters. While other works of the artist, in particular in video, also focus on characters, they are entirely absent in the paintings. Holman purposely selects moments during cutaway shots or camera pans when the character disappears from view and we are left with visual information that may resonate with the absence of a body and provides contextual information on these characters’ lived environments, or, at least, the set designer’s imagination. Within this context it is also worth stressing that the artist does not see these paintings as discrete objects, but rather, by their nature and the context within which they are produced, as indexical. They originate from and refer to a larger context of (visual) culture.

In part the absence of bodies relates to a strategy of refusal, which we see within the paintings not only through the negation of depicting the characters that guide the artist’s research, but also by leaving parts of the canvas more or less incomplete, more or less refined. At the same time, this refusal expands to the circulation of imagery within the context of visual culture and capital and the issues that arise with exploitation when representation and identity collide with capital. Within art, naturally, the primary locus for this collision lies within the commodification of painting, which quickly becomes problematic as the world of commerce has the tendency to repeat historical patterns of dominance, ownership, or power.

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