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FACET, VSSL Studio’s programme dedicated to the exploration and celebration of contemporary queer art and culture, presents an eponymous group exhibition this autumn featuring all five FACET artists: Benjamin Sebastian, Alicia Radage, June Lam, Rocío Boliver & Marcin Gawin.

Contemporary queer art shows Alicia Radage wearing one of her art pieces.
Alicia Radage wearing one of her art pieces.

Running from now to the 29th of October, this is the third of FACET’s five exhibitions. Via collage, sculpture, video, photography, and installation, the exhibition provides an opportunity to experience the multifaceted practices of FACET artists ahead of two further solo exhibitions at VSSL Studio this November and in January 2024, from Rocio Boliver and Marcin Gawin, respectively.

JUNE LAM 

A multidisciplinary artist, activist and community organiser, June Lam works across nightlife and within the trans community. 

For October’s group exhibition, FACET takes a fresh look at June’s evocative collages following his month-long solo exhibition at VSSL Studio in August. June’s collage practice began during lockdown, initially reflecting isolation, anxiety and fear. Recent pieces explore his ancestry, spiritual practice and journey as a Vietnamese Chinese person against a background of diaspora and displacement. 

Graduating from Slade School of Fine Art with an MA in sculpture, Lam’s work centres queer desirability politics, fag effeminacy and embodied experiences of intergenerational trauma. 

In his collage work, he takes imagery from, amongst other sources, vintage magazines rooted in a dehumanising and anthropological Western gaze upon Southeast Asian people and people of colour. Now liberated from objectification, Lam honours the spirits and individuals depicted, restoring their agency and acknowledging their complexity. He sees this as a spiritual reclamation, offering those depicted space for love, attention and care.

@assignedfagatbirth 

ALICIA RADAGE 

While creating work in performance, video, sculpture and sound, Alicia Radage’s current research looks at the intersection between the neurodiverse experience and animist practice, looking at ways of communicating and being outside the neurotypical. 

Alicia has taught fine art and theatre at both MA and BA level. They have shown work in the UK and internationally, including Whitstable Biennale, MOMA Bogotá, Venice International Performance Art Week, GIANT Gallery, SPILL Festival, Perfolink (Chile), Parlour (London) and Meno Parkas (Lithuania). 

@alicia_radage_artist

BENJAMIN SEBASTIAN 

A trans-disciplinary artist-curator based in London, Benjamin Sebastian’s practice might be imagined as a constellation of mirrors, reflecting aspects of the body, time and spaces they inhabit, or as world-making experiments manifested through bricolage, assemblage and ritual processes. 

Sebastian recently contributed to a commission from NIKE in collaboration with Greater Goods, highlighting the artistic potential and sustainability of circular economies. For this group show, Sebastian exhibits artworks from FACET’s inaugural exhibition at VSSL Studio earlier this summer.  

@benjaminsebastian

ROCIO BOLIVER 

Boliver collaborates with photographer Karolina Bazydlo and model Bartlomiej Gudejko in a bold response to the invisibility of the ageing female form within sexual pleasure, desire, and erotic play. The artist has reimagined the conventional ‘pin up’ calendar concept, creating portrayals of womanly autonomy. Boliver confronts the absurdity of society’s narrow beauty standards and the consequent marginalisation of older women. The works offer an empowering and unapologetic message, encouraging viewers to recognise and celebrate female sexuality, ownership, pleasure and the power that this holds. Known as La Congelada de Uva, Boliver is a key figure in underground performance art in Mexico and beyond. For over thirty years, her work has confronted the ideological grid that shapes women’s lives, challenging ageism and capitalism’s impact on women between menopause and old age. Boliver’s performances have been presented extensively in Europe, Asia, and North and South America, and she has participated in festivals globally; she is a grantee of the National System of Creators of Mexico. VSSL Studio is delighted to be given the auspicious opportunity to present Rocio Boliver’s photography for the first time ahead of her solo exhibition this November.

@rocioboliver

MARCIN GAWIN is an interdisciplinary artist based in Bristol whose work encompasses image construction, installation, and live art. His fascination with the human body and its potential for transformation is evident in his practice, which explores the body’s function in mundane practicality and in speculative and occult realities. 

2019, Marcin completed Marina Abramovic’s Cleaning the House training in durational performance, further developing his expertise in this area. He also honed his skills in The Sunday Skool for Misfits, Experimenters, and Dissenters, where he studied under Martin O’Brien, Shabnam Shabazi and Joseph Morgan Schofield in 2021. 

Contemporary queer art at FACET VSSL Studio.
Marcin Gawin

Currently, Marcin is pursuing an MA in Virtual and Extended Realities at the University of the West of England, where he is researching the concept of embodied cognition in virtual environments and utilising immersion as an artistic strategy. 

Marcin’s work has been presented at the Palace International Film Festival in Bristol, Modern Art Oxford, Terytoria Festiwal in Poland, and Oxford Brookes University.

@mrcn.gwn

FACET Exhibition Opening Hours:

12-5 pm, Thursday to Sunday

5th-29th October 2023

VSSL Studio

50 Resolution Way

Deptford SE8 4AL

 

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