persona brings together seventeen artists who conceive of identity as a set of distinguishing, not delimiting, characteristics in which one might lose rather than find one’s self. More than an examination of those characteristics that one would consider fundamental to their being, the artists in persona suggest that the essence of the individual lies beyond these characteristics. In fact, none of these characteristics, be they biological—as is sex, social—as are nationality and religion, or a combination of both—as is race, are fixed so as to exist beyond relativity and therefore change. We are who we are not because of, but in spite of, those characteristics that may serve as a misleading articulation of the self. If identity is achieved with the discovery of irreducible characteristics, then the artists in this exhibition represent a moment when those characteristics as signifiers of the self may be challenged, chosen, or changed. Depending on the circumstances, one may not be what one appears but perhaps something other, something that better expresses or represents the self.
The film and video portion of this exhibition was curated by Diana Thater.