Artist: Juliette Blightman
Venue: Karma International LA, Los Angeles
Exhibition Title: Eden, Eden, Eden
Date: March 1 – March 28, 2015
Note: The audio component of the show can be found here.
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images and audio courtesy of the artist; Karma International LA, Los Angeles; and Isabella Bortolozzi Galerie, Berlin. Photos by Jeff McLane.
Juliette Blightman in conversation with Tenzing Barshee
Tenzing: Can we talk about your fixation with hair and arses?
Juliette: It started a while ago when I became preoccupied with watching women riding bicycles and looking at art. In both cases I felt attracted to the way these women—whilst being otherwise engaged—present themselves. This led me to thinking of the birds-of-paradise, here it is reversed, the males are dressed in such fancy feathers. The females only need them for mating. Because the rainforest is so rich in what it can provide. I imagine it like living in the city…
Tenzing: What about the hair?
Juliette: I’m fascinated by its freedom. How it falls and moves.
Tenzing: Last summer you showed a video, 2012, at Kunsthalle Bern and on Valentine’s Day you opened the exhibition Come inside, bitte at Isabella Bortolozzi in Berlin. 2012 is as much a portrait of your daughter as it portrays a female artist, a mother as an artist. In Come inside, bitte you show watercolors, paintings, photographs and a video titled Time and Death (some say sex), projected through an open doorway, all of these images portray something or someone and their totality depicts a view of a moment, a place and a collective.
Juliette: I’m curious about the suspension of a moment. The decision whether you come or go, sink or swim … do you join in or remain where you are?
Tenzing: Two of the paintings you are showing here in Los Angeles are part of the Exclusivity series. They show naked male bodies, coming together, sexually, in a pile…
Juliette: This was a scene that felt wrong to photograph, I was an outsider. I wanted to paint the distance I felt as an individual in the club at five o’clock in the morning. It was very beautiful, their bodies, their shapes, the sun coming up through the skylight and the swimming pool somehow creating a moat. There was no bridge to their island.
Tenzing: Yet, you were connected physically through the pounding beat that everyone was moving to.
Juliette: I’m thinking a lot about the illusion of the collective. Like many of the palm trees in Los Angeles—that compose our image of the local landscape—are actually imported. Only one species is native to California.
Tenzing: A recurrent motif in your work deals with the gaze out of the window. Now there are many passageways, doors. Mirrors without reflection. Isolated as well as conjugated figures. So somehow, while you talk about exclusivity, inclusion also seems to be apparent in your work.
Juliette: Being part of something always excludes you of something else. While being excluded of one group actually means an inclusion to another.
Tenzing: It’s like with the collective nouns.
Juliette: Yes, a couple of polar bears are called a celebration, a collection of islands is called a chain, a mass of information is called wealth, a group of bacteria is called a culture and a group of actors is called a company. Each of these collective nouns talks as much about inclusion as it promotes its exclusivity.