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March 4, 2021 — April 25, 2021

BLACK PUSSY / BLKPussy_error

Krista Gay in LEAN

Online

As part of the exhibition LEAN, Kunsthall Stavanger is presenting the videos BLACK PUSSY (2020) and BLKPussy_error (2021) by Krista Gay on our website.

View the works here.

Krista Gay (b. 1998, Los Angeles, CA; Lives and works in New York, NY) [she/her] is an interdisciplinary artist whose work engages, as Gay puts it, “video archives sourced via cyberspace”. With a practice spaning text, sound, photography, and moving image Gay explores and examines media representations of Black womanhood as they appear online, and as different publics participate in the act of viewership via the proxy, prosthetic, and black electric mirror of machinic technologies. Through this work the artist traverses the volatile historical and contemporary relationships of the Black woman to the constructs of cyborg, slave, robot, meme, and machine. Gay’s critique of Black womanhood in the media—and, via extension, Black femme sexuality—cites the troubled binary assignment of Black femmes being either exalted and abject, worshipped or desecrated.

The artist’s two recent video works featured here, respectively titled “BLACK PUSSY” (2020) and “BLKPUSSY_error” (2021), reflect on the images of Black femininity, Black womanhood, and Black women, as transmitted through the networked landscape of the Internet as a complicated site, landscape, and ontology. In the production of each, Gay considers the racist haunting of the antebellum archetypes of the “Mammy”, “Sapphire”, and “Jezebel”, proposing ways in which these triggering tropes might be emancipated, empowered, rearticulated, and redefined. These stereotypic figures continue to contour and shape how Black women across visual culture are represented today: the Mammy, rooted in the Southern history of American slavery, as an unsexed Black woman who would typically be tasked with the nursing or caretaking of a white family’s children; the Sapphire typically typecast as being an angry Black woman, one whose existence offends the supremacist logic of the societal norms that Black women should remain passive, non-threatening, and invisible; and finally, the Jezebel as a Black woman that is shown as unbridled and sexually lascivious, singular in her ambitions to seduce or tempt. Gay considers the ways in which these stereotypes collide with the eugenics-driven legacy of medical apartheid that implicates the bodies of Black women as laboratories, sites to actively experiment on and exploit in the name of scientific, computational, and algorithmic advancement. The artist reflects on these works as pushing back on the gendered gaze and violent voyeurism of non-Black viewership as “an encounter, an act of refusal, a riot, a listening, [a] staying with the trouble.”

Biography

Krista Gay is an artist working through photography, video, language, and sound installation to study the sciences and histories of the Black American body. Her work cites her own contemporary position and lived experience as a Black woman in active dialogue and intersection with the ongoing subjugation of, and experimentation on, Black women in the name of scientific research.

March 4, 2021 —

April 25, 2021

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