Anna Grzelewska – Selections from Julia Wannabe series (on going)
I’ve had this post from Magenta Magazine sitting in my drafts for months now.
Part of the reason I haven’t posted it is because I am hesitant to place it side-by-side with some of the material this blog features.
Part has to do with Grzelewska’s artist statement–which I’ve made a point of excluding.
It’s not that it’s a bad statement–I mean once you come to terms that Artist’s Statements are more or less equivalent to an algebra teacher’s demand to show your work, it’s easy to tacitly acknowledge the utility.
In some ways it’s actually revelatory since it skips over the dissimulation you get from folks like Sally Mann and Jock Sturges. But even that is a slight of hand, in that it draws undue attention to the proverbial elephant in the room–the experience of between-ness intrinsic to adolescence.
But what’s actually at work here is something far more universal and double-edged–the agency of the subject standing in relationship to the perversity of bearing witness.
Grzelewska is like someone with a sore tooth. She can’t stop touching it. She clearly has a great deal at stake in the proceedings–and there is something undeniably transgressive in that act. Yet, the illicitness of the compulsion dulls when offset by the realization that what makes culture blame Lolita for Humbert’s crimes is the same tendency that drives the urge to avert the eyes, to not bear witness to the between-ness, to not acknowledge and shroud with shame.
This is hand’s down the strongest, most vital and completely fearless bodies of work I’ve seen in the last half decade I am head over effing heels for it.