Dear Alien, Dear Doppelganger
Curator: Michelle Song
Artists: Jaguar Mary X, Taro Masushio, Luna Luis Ortiz, Lisa Ross
Dates: January 15 – February 26, 2023
Opening Reception: Soft Opening: 1 – 5pm, Sunday, January 15, 2023 | Public Opening: 6 – 8pm, Thursday, January 19, 202
Gallery: Abrazo Gallery at The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center
Dear Alien, Dear Doppelganger presents photographs and videos that explore queerness as performances of doubling. The four featured artists approach archives, popular culture representations, family photos, and dominant constructs of race and sexuality by reworking and restaging them through drag performances, acts of gender-reversal and literal copies made of the original. Using their lenses, the artists play on the gaze through doubling, deflecting, blurring, and redirecting to bypass subjugation and objectification. As such, the works animate double visions that are at once enigmatic and familiar; stranger and kin.
While some works in the exhibition directly assert the body through self-portraiture, other works render a palpable absence and the impossibility of resolution. Estrangement and intimacy, distance and closeness coexist.
The title of the exhibition is inspired by artist Jaguar Mary X’s 1996 performance “Alien at Rest,” in which the artist walked naked down Canal Street. By performing her black femme body as an “alien,” the artist embodied what they called a “universal subject.” Liberated from dominant constructions of history and identity, the alien marched fearlessly toward the horizon. In a similar vein, the works in this exhibition invite new speculations of belonging by positing the familiar, the “doppelganger,” in another space and time. Recognizing the double is simultaneously the negation of alienation. What reflects back is a mirror image that resides in fantasy and futurity: an endearing alien.