Kawita Vatanajyankur at STILLS Gallery
In Machinized, the exhibition hosted at STILLS Gallery (Sidney), Kawita Vatanajyankur is a tool, a moving part in the machine. She transforms herself into food production equipment in performance videos that restage processes such as boxing eggs and weighing leafy greens.
Like her previously celebrated works, this new series is graphic and glorious, sharing the same eye-catching allure that enamors us to ads. The confronting nature of her endurance performances, however, interrupts this seductive surface.
The repetitive and arduous tasks that Vatanajyankur performs parody a pervasive slippage between human and machine, and foreground the forgotten body within a technologically accelerating world. Beyond this literal translation, these gestures also make visible the invisible mechanisms that govern women’s everyday labour in her birthplace of Thailand. In both contexts, paring seduction and confrontation proves a powerful device in Vatanajyankur’s hands – a Trojan horse for tackling entrenched attitudes toward gender, equality and work.
Vatanajyankur’s deliberate self-objectification suggests that our bodies are a medium for submission but also for resistance. This brave, beautiful and playful work frees her from a culture of compliance but also from her mind. As she explains, it turns her body into sculpture.
Kawita Vatanajyankur: Machinized
25.06.2016 – 23.07.2016
Images courtesy of Kawita Vatanajyankur and STILLS Gallery