Marina Abramović, Laurie Anderson, Janine Antoni, Matthew Barney, Sophie Calle, Samuel Fosso, Robert Gober, Anthony Goicolea, Douglas Gordon, Fergus Greer/Leigh Bowery, Johan Grimonprez, Lyle Ashton Harris, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Michel Journiac, Nikki S. Lee, Kalup Linzy, Urs Lüthi, Robert Mapplethorpe, Duane Michals, Yasumasa Morimura, Robert Morris, Adrian Piper, Cindy Sherman, Yinka Shonibare, Gavin Turk, Andy Warhol, Gillian Wearing
Sean Kelly is delighted to announce a group exhibition, Role Exchange, which opens on June 29th. The exhibition brings together works in diverse media that address questions of identity, role-playing and gender. The exhibition continues through August 3rd. The opening will take place on Thursday, June 28th, from 6pm until 8pm.
Alternate personas and role exchange have been consistent themes for artists at least since Marcel Duchamp's adoption of the persona of "Rrose Sélavy" in 1921. However, the point of departure for this exhibition is Marina Abramović's 1975 performance Role Exchange, in which Abramović exchanged roles with an Amsterdam prostitute for a four-hour period. Abramović sat in the prostitute's window and plied her trade whilst the prostitute assumed the role of the artist at her exhibition opening.
The artists in this exhibition address the process through which identity is constructed by exploring different roles and characters. Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol, Adrian Piper, Johan Grimonprez, Robert Gober and Lyle Ashton Harris, to name a few, challenge traditional gender roles while Janine Antoni, Gillian Wearing and Michel Journiac examine the relationships within the nucleus of the family. Duane Michals, Yinka Shonibare, Gavin Turk, and Nikki S. Lee further investigate identity by introducing the use of fictional characters. Leigh Bowery (photographed by Fergus Greer) and Lynn Hershman Leeson actually inhabit these fictional characters in real time, blurring the line between the real and the imaginary.
Though disparate in formal resolution, the twenty-seven artists represented in this exhibition share an impulse to transform traditional social roles. They require us to redefine our perceived categorizations of gender and identity, allowing for more nuanced systems of classification and a greater understanding of their abiding interest in role exchange.