Does misogynistic work of artistic value have room to coexist with feminist pursuits? This is the core exploration of British artist Zoe Buckman’s newest exhibition, and her first in the United States, ‘Every Curve.’ On view until April 30th, 2016 at Papillion in Los Angeles, ‘Every Curve’ is an intricate body of work that amalgamates femininity with hip-hop lyrics, which are often sexist and abrasive to women.
Stitched on delicate vintage lingerie, ‘Every Curve’ reappropriates borderline abusive rhetoric against women and feminizes it, empowering women by de-powering the intention of subversion. Buckman’s sartorial art is a reflection of the complexities of womanhood, which allows – or at the very least supports – the idea that we can enjoy culture without it having an effect on our worth as powerful and assertive individuals. In this illustrated Q&A, the artist, hip-hop aficionado, and style maven gives us an insight into her life and mind.
NeueJournal: You famously preserved your placenta, turning into material for an art piece. If you could use any other part of your body for art, which would it be?
Zoe Buckman: No one has ever asked me that before! I plastinated my placenta because I wanted to preserve the moment that something living starts to die. I think it would be quite interesting to do the reverse — to preserve something that is growing/reaching fruition. The only example I can think of for this would be to preserve some kind of cancer. God willing I never have the opportunity to do this.
NJ: Where is your favorite place in the world?
ZB: Hackney, East London.
NJ: When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
ZB: I wanted to be a lorry driver or a fireman (no one ever mentioned firewomen).
NJ: Aside from Tupac and Biggie, who is your favorite hip-hop artist?
ZB: I listen The Fugees a lot in the studio.
NJ: What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
ZB: A menu.
NJ: What do you look like in the morning?
ZB: Puffy as fuck.
NJ: What do you look like at night?
ZB: Tired and tipsy.
NJ: Who do you admire the most?
ZB: My mum. Thirty years ago she had a wonderful but very demanding three-year-old son, and then she gave birth to twins (one of whom was me), and she raised us all in humor and love whilst giving her all to her students at RADA. She is a legend, a two times cancer survivor, an activist and talented writer, and there aren’t enough props in the world I can give her.
NJ: What is the first thing you see when you wake up?
ZB: White sheets.
NJ: If you were a superhero what would your superpower be and what would your suit look like?
ZB: My superpower would be the ability to heal the sick through the power of my breakdancing. My suit would be a vintage Adidas tracksuit. My bandana would double up as a magic band-aid and my door-knocker gold earrings would shoot life-giving laser beams…I’ve probably been watching too many kids cartoons lately with my four-year-old.
Artwork: Zoe Buckman for NeueJournal
Feature Image: Zoe Buckman in her ‘Every Curve’ exhibition at PAPILLION ART, Los Angeles
Courtesy Bethanie Brady Artist Management / (C) Billy Farrell / BFA.com