Artist: Lynn Hershman Leeson
Venue: Vilma Gold, London
Exhibition Title: Trans Genesis: Evaporations and Mutations
Date: October 4 – November 12, 2016
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Image Courtesy of Vilma Gold, London
For Trans Genesis: Evaporations and Mutations at Vilma Gold, Lynn Hershman Leeson presents a combination of works spanning from 1968 – 2016 from her series Hero Sandwich, Phantom Limb, Cyborg and The Infinite Engine. Additionally the exhibition includes work from the Water Woman series and the video Seduction of a Cyborg that will both be included in the upcoming Whitney Museum exhibition Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art 1905-2016 later this month.
With a practice spanning more than fifty years, Hershman Leeson has worked in performance, moving image, drawing, painting, collage, text-based work, site-specific interventions, and later new media / digital technologies, and interactive net-based works, making her one of the first truly multi-disciplinary artists. Her installation Lorna, 1983 was the first interactive video work. In the pantheon of feminist artists, she also holds a special place, having investigated the question of gender, identity politics, and selfhood. Her work focuses on the changing relationship between the body and technology, which led to her innovative work with artificial intelligence, biological computing, dna manipulation including bio printed body parts.
The Water Woman works began as a metaphor for Roberta Breitmore, a ‘complete personality’ alter ego created by Hershman Leeson in 1974. Despite underscoring ideas of disappearance, evaporation, alchemical and atmospheric connection to air, water and electrical currents, and ultimately the fragile nature of life itself, the Water Woman series has become one of Hershman Leeson’s more enduring images and has continually morphed into altered states including collages, family portraits, and finally a cyborg’s essence.
Cyborg series: In a series of images created digitally using graphic-design software, Hershman Leeson portrays a group of cybernetic organisms or ‘cyborgs’. Mechanical elements, identity number and technological symbols are super imposed on the faces of women, making them into half-human robotic femme fatales. Their images are manipulated using a wide variety of techniques and effects and represents bodies transformed by computer-based technologies.
The video Seduction of a Cyborg, 1994 is a poetic allegory about technology’s invasion of the body. Technology is imagined as a type of infection, in which manipulated computer chips destroy the immune system and transform women into cyborgs.
Inspired by the 1980 John Cassavetes film Gloria, the Hero Sandwich series merges publicity photographs of male and female celebrities by printing layered negatives and then painting the result. Carefully chosen and constructed as composites, the images fuses the stars’ gestures and expressions.
Synthia Stock Ticker shows the character Synthia’s actions based on accumulated stock data. Registering change in the stock market in real time, the sculpture symbolises market performance through sixteen base behaviors determined by two percent changes in the Dow Jones Industrial Average , NASDAQ, S&P 500 and Russell Cap indexes.
In the Phantom Limb series, created before the advent of Photoshop, Hershman Leeson presents female bodies merged with machinery such as cameras, binoculars, electric plugs, clocks and televisions replace the limbs of these technologically mutated women.
As a conclusion to the exhibition, in The Infinity Engine Hershman Leeson explores the manipulation of DNA and the production of transgenic organisms and regenerative medicine technologies, such as artificial fabrication of human organs with 3D bio-printing techniques. All these technologies profoundly affect our concepts of human identity and the relationship between the past and the present, as well as between life and death. The Infinity Engine asks questions about property rights and ownership of human body parts when human cells and tissue are turned into commodities.
Lynn Hershman Leesons upcoming exhibitions include Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art 1905-2016, Whitney Museum, New York (2016), Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2016) and The Photographers’ Gallery, London (2016). Recent solo exhibitions include: Cyborgs and Self-Promotion, Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, USA (2016), Lynn turning into Roberta, Vilma Gold, London (2016), Liquid Identities: Lynn Hershman Leeson, Identities in the 21st Century, The Lehmbruck Museum, Germany (2016) and Lynn Hershman Leeson: Civic Radar, Sammlung Falckenberg, Germany (2015), Origins of the Species, Part 2, Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, UK (2015), Civic Radar: Lynn Hershman Leeson – The Retrospective, ZKM Center for Media and Art Karlsruhe, Germany (2015).