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Bone Structure, the current exhibition at AA|LA, implores viewers to consider the body as a site of oppression, mutability, and memory. As an examination into the relationship between corporeality and identity, each work is infused with ample amounts of social commentary and subjective experience.
Brazilian artist Felipe Meres offers a rather gimmicky approach towards examining sexuality that has him impregnating his sculpture with synthetic testosterone and protein powder. Its title, EffusaElegans (2016), references a worm variety that reproduces hermaphroditically. Notions of gender identity and individualism are intriguingly navigated here but seem out of step with the show’s other contributions.
The show’s most potent work, Devin Kenny’s The list must incl. other terms for you to recognize mine (for Nakia Jones & Chris Dorner) (2016) name-drops two widely publicized figures, each known for decrying—albeit in wholly different manners—police brutality. Kenny’s sculpture, a police chalk outline that has been covered in sweeping compound, conjures the brushing away of officer culpability.
Equally captivating is Sondra Perry’s video Double Quadruple Etcetera Etcetera (2013), which silently depicts two black dancers (artists Danny Giles and Joiri Minaya), their gestures heavily obfuscated by a Photoshop editing feature. Though the purpose of the software function is to mute images and motions, the dancers’ fervent, at times violent, movements are irrepressible.
With over sixty percent of the exhibition dedicated to matters pertaining directly to race, the remainder feels less like an addition to a well-rounded dialogue about identity and more like filler. Though representation of all facets of identity within a single exhibition is impossible, the imbalance on view here gives pause.
Bone Structure runs from July 16-August 27, 2016 at AA|LA (7313 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046).