TWO SIDES OF US, 2019, performance
In Two Sides of Us, the two artists look at one another, in this case for three hours, observing every detail of the other’s face, shape of the eyes, size of the nose and lips, texture of the hair. They lovingly render each small detail, attempting to get as close as possible to the likeness of the person sitting before them. Not being master sculptors, hours later, they agree that his visage looking African, and hers like any Western woman is just fine. Allowing themselves the pleasure, for a moment, of falling into the exact mirror they portray to the viewer.
How fitting that the immediate urge is to destroy this work. Negate the identities forced upon each of them, simultaneously by the passerby on the street as by the museum curator. He is expected to fulfill the destiny we have now assigned the contemporary African artist; she must prove wrong the centuries of women’s exclusion from the art market. How heavy these identities, how simple, how cruel. And so they destroy – punch, scratch, gauge out the eyes! Leave nothing but remnants of what was. A protest, a dissent, a refusal to step in line.
Exhibition of Two Sides of Us took place as the pre-fired artifact and video documentation of performance at the Aleksanterin Linna Gallery at the Serlachius Museums in Mänttä, Finland