The Other Space is pleased to present MVP: Most Valuable Player, a solo presentation of works by Nicholas Grafia. The exhibition will be on view through 7 August 2020, exclusively available online on The Other Space.
“In the last few years my practice has increasingly shifted towards one that seeks to combine mainly painting and performance, in order to discuss the creation of social, cultural and political memory. Looking at the history of my home country, the Philippines, and comparing them to the radical neo-liberal, xenophobic and right wing tendencies I have encountered while growing up in Europe, I came to realise new examples for mainly two things: How many national governments have radically exploitative and marginalising agendas and how interconnected national histories and issues in political power dynamics are on a global level.
The use of absurdist aesthetics, as well as a theoretical focus on writings on postcolonial issues, the uncanny, the monstrous and post-humanism, have helped me to find a visual language to contemplate my artistic ideas on those matters. Employing non-linear dialogue styles, theatrical disguise, masks and ambiguous physical shapes, throughout my multidisciplinary practice, I wish to irritate and subvert established power relations and conventions within my heteronormative western surrounding.
Furthermore looking at the way my environment produces, replicates and negotiates racial or sexual representations, I started to look at the history of alternative spaces such as drag queen houses, secret LGBTI+ meeting spots, as well as spaces where POC bodies are exoticized. Investigating into different social, (sub) cultural, as well as historical directions, I am creating visual narrations that are intended to present the narratives and voices of marginalised subjects to a wider audience.
In my research stages, I am particularly interested in the way secret visual cues and scene codes enable a complex and rich communication between like-minded people, living in precarious situations, knowing that they are exposed to constant vulnerability and threat.
Having been in that position myself, I was always interested in finding ways to turn someone’s role of a victim, who is for example suffering from homophobia or racism, into one that enables an individual to have agency and impactful visibility.
Especially within my performative works, I have actively taken advantage of the personal histories and cultural experiences of fellow performers and collaborators, by constructing multi-perspective dialogues, in order to extend possible interpretations, and to re-negotiate and add to existing queer, POC and immigrant narratives and history.
My artistic practice is therefore generally concerned with a juxtaposition and interweaving of historical events and recent global developments, the familiar and the strange; the personal and the universal.”