Contemporary Austin | IN A DREAM YOU SAW A WAY TO SURVIVE AND YOU WERE FULL OF JOY — Flaunt Magazine

The exhibition is titled, IN A DREAM YOU SAW A WAY TO SURVIVE AND YOU WERE FULL OF JOY—could you give me an overview of this title?

The title comes from a work by Jenny Holzer, a prominent feminist and socially engaged artist. She came to prominence around 1980 and is known for her work that intervenes in the public sphere and really critically analyzes discourse in the media or public discourse. It inspires people to act to change the conditions of reality. The exhibition is a gathering of eight female artists, each of them confronting received patriarchal power structures in different ways and creating works that make room for new forms of representation while encouraging us to reflect on who we are and who we are. to what is possible.

This sentence is like a current – it connects the very different projects that each of the eight artists carries out in this show. Whether it’s identity constructions or how archives and histories shape certain narratives and more or less determine the stories told, whose stories are deleted, whose lives are privileged or subjected to violence. We bring together female artists both cis and trans from a wide variety of backgrounds and focus their voices and perspectives. It’s really a way of approaching the patriarchal structure and also white supremacy in this country. And so to do this in a way that simultaneously opens up new spaces and creates opportunities to seek refuge and joy and possibilities to reimagine those same structures to open a new path forward.

Was this central message already a vision in the curation of exhibitions? Did the artists come to you or did you find them upstream and curate the other way?

To be honest, it was a bit of a working process on both sides and that’s because the exposure grew. It started out as a smaller project and has grown into a project that takes up the entire downtown museum, as well as site-specific projects at Laguna Gloria, the sculpture museum. It started with a subset of artists and then they were really brought together for how they approached narrative and power structures using satire and humor, so there was really a core already. But, by bringing this idea to life, it became a more intentional process of bringing together artists who approach this subject. There are two main sections, one downstairs and one upstairs. Ground floor artists who use the human figure: paintings, animations, photo collages and videos all reflect on how subjectivity or identity is constructed and address the constructions of gender and the power dynamics of gender . Then, upstairs, artists who have a very conceptual practice based on research. They think about systems: knowledge systems, records and histories of systems and how people’s lives and histories are represented in how we commemorate, but also shape and reframe for the future. Once those two central themes started to really crystallize, it became a process of making it robust and compelling while still speaking to a wide range of subjects in terms of representation.

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