Statement

Johanna Breiding works with photography, video, installation and intergenerational collaboration to reinterpret historical events, putting the past into a meaningful transformative relation with the present, and giving voice and ground to underrepresented and marginalized communities. Her practice is committed to representing subjects that are marked “deviant” or illegible, and to experiment with forms of world-making that offer an alternative to state-sanctioned legitimation, and gendered and racialized hierarchies. It invites viewers to feel how resistance might move our bodies and to pay attention to the landscapes that hold us as we persist. In Epitaph for Family (2015), which opened two days after the U.S. legalization of same-sex marriage, Breiding documented queer-identified perspectives on family and kinship. A key stake was to disclose how heteronormative family structures define the individual and society-at-large. The project includes a series of photographic queer still lifes that reconsider the dinner table as a metaphor for the horizon, a futurity not yet reached, by replacing familiar objects with their queered others. The film, The Rebel Body (2017-present) explores ongoing strategies of political persecution through the story of Anna Göldi in Glarus, Switzerland, a woman who was victim to the16th century witch-hunts. This ongoing project is a collaboration with curator and writer Shoghig Halajian, Marxist-Feminist writer and theorist Silvia Federici ( Caliban and the Witch ) and Glarus locals who retell Anna Göldi’s story in order to activate the resilience of remembering and the landscape as a site of memory-keeping. The video installation, Demonstrative Score (2018), also explores ‘landscape-memory’ and consists of an archival compilation of acts of protest that aim to dismantle public monuments of European historical leaders and Confederate soldiers, in collaboration with choreographer taisha paggett. The work responds to recent iconoclastic events that demand revisions to national narratives, and define history as a living document that warrants active engagement by marginalized and violated subjects.

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