Connection to HomagePosted: October 29, 2013
Queer Objectivity has been up for about a week now and without a doubt it has been my favorite exhibit in the Gallery. It pushes boundaries, makes the audience interact with “taboo” viewpoints, gets in your face, and it does so unapologetically. All of the art speaks to me in different ways and it has been hard to decide which one I wanted to write about. But I’ve noticed myself always coming back to the piece that entranced me and grabbed my attention when the exhibit was first being put together.
Homage by performance artist Kris Grey/Justin Credible is spectacular. It is broken up into four photographs and one preservation of materials used from a 45 minute performance piece done in 2013. The performance is one of strength and resilience of someone sharing a moment of emotional and physical change. Kris shared with us, that this was directly related to the weeks after his top surgery when he was unable to see his chest. It is hard to imagine what it must feel like going through an important surgery and the possible feelings of excitement, anticipation, fear and confusion of not being able to see the end result. Yet, Kris took control of such an emotional experience. In his performance, he took ten medical grade needles, put them through his scars and released them in front of an audience as the blood dripped down his bare torso and onto the ground.
Kris’s art is my favorite not only for the personal connection he has in his art, but for his strength and openness as he stands in front of his audience. He bares not only his body, but his soul to perfect strangers and I admire his braveness more than anything else. After speaking with him during the reception, it made me love his art even more. Even though he shared with me how frightening it can be to be so vulnerable, none of that shows in the photographs. He is a person who knows what he wants of himself and of others as he shows the world his identity.
The middle portion of Kris’s piece in the gallery is a glass box that holds the ten needles that were once in his body. Behind the needles, the box holds a mirror. During an artist talk the Gallery held, Kris admitted that the mirror was purposefully used in order for the viewer to see themselves in his art and to find their own link to his message. For me, when I see myself behind the needles, I think of my own experience of body modification. As someone with twelve piercings, three others that have been taken out, I’ve had my fair share with needles being shoved into my own body. But, when I look at the size and length of the needles Kris used, I’m amazed that he had the power to have ten of them put into his body, held in there for three hours before his performance, and then slowly removed them. It brought me back to the importance of my body modification and how my piercings are now a part of me and my identity. I know how difficult it is for me when I have to remove piercings for whatever reason, and how I feel like I’m losing a piece of myself. I can’t image the emotional experience Kris had when he removed his needles. I can see it being a moment of pure control and power over his own body. A moment of reclaiming himself and his identity.
Written by Ashlyn
Look out for Kris giving another talk in the near future on our Facebook page!