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© 2023 By Henry Cooper. Proudly created with Wix.com

Tell Me Why You Love Me

Ma langue 

Contre Ta langue 

Contre La Langue

Festival Visions d’exil

Organized by atelier des artistes en exil and cite international des arts 

From November 15th-30th

At Cité Internationale des arts

Site de Montmartre

Paris, France

What prejudices are sustained when art is judged based on the identity of the artist? How would we see art differently if we began by accepting the artist as a subject whose identity is not presumed? This body of work is my reflection on the ascendancy of identity-politics in the art world, and beyond. It is also my retaliation against the pressure disproportionately placed on artists from historically marginalized backgrounds to narrate and (re)produce themselves in terms of their identities, pasts, genders, political statuses, and worthiness. 

 

“Tell me why you love me” is motivated, in part, by a desire to rupture the hegemonic narrative of the morally-redeemable other. Pursuing a line of “hysterical questioning”. As Slavoj Zizek argues:

 

“Hysterical questioning is the most elementary form of critique of ideology. Ideology is an order, at its most elementary, what society tells you that you are.” Zizek (2019)

 

This body of work relentlessly asks "Why am I what you're saying that I am? What is there in me that makes me that? What do you see in me that causes you to desire me in that way?” It is my effort to disperse the ideological constellation that determines my symbolic identity, and that hangs together by the contradictory obligation not only to obey my masters, but also to act as I were free and equal. It is, at its core, my demand for “equal rights to evil” – the right to be ungrateful, rootless, genderless, bodiless, and inconvenient.