Risk Hazekamp / Valley of the Gods: Contemporary Analog Photography In and Around Taos
The Harwood Museum of Art of the University of New Mexico presents the exhibition “Risk Hazekamp / Valley of the Gods: Contemporary Analog Photography In and Around Taos” opening Friday October 9 with a public reception on Saturday October 10 from 3-5pm the exhibition is on view in the Foster Gallery for Prints, Drawings and Photographs through January 24 . Also on view during this time, “Desert Passage” featuring the work of Anne Ausloos, Gergo de Ruijter and Jeroen van Westen. An opening reception for Alliance Members will be held October 9th 5-7pm with a public reception on Saturday October 10th 5-7pm, funded by the Consulate General of the Netherlands.
Risk Hazekamp participated in the Harwood Museum's Artist in Residence program during the summer of 2009. The exhibition “Valley of the Gods” includes work created during her stay in Taos. Hazekamp uses photography to explore issues of identity and in particular, the way in which gender and identity intersect. By evoking and drawing upon mass media and popular visual language: advertising, fashion and movie genres, she questions the construction of gender-identities.
Born in The Hague, Hazekamp works primarily with photography and video. In her work, the language of Hollywood is directly engaged taking on the issue of gender - from the baggage carried in the term to various media constructs.
The entire photographic process in her work is analog: from the negative until the final work no computer is used. This analogue process is an important aspect of the work, because Hazekamp doesn’t create illusions, but rather shows us a political statement. Notions and practices of travesty and drag are used to explore the complexity of our dualistic gender system. Hazekamp’s “women with beards” are therefore not expressing the desire to be male. This interpretation would continue the line of binary thinking, which she wants to interrupt. According to Hazekamp “maleness”, even the physical characteristics of it, is not exclusively connected to the male body, but can also belong to a biological female person.
During her residency at the Harwood, Hazekamp took photos of herself in the overwhelming landscape of New Mexico. The Southwestern landscape functioning as an ultimate symbol for Nature. The wide, empty landscape is not only a visual aspect of the image, but it is also part of the concept of the work. Emptiness stands here for a non-defined space, based on the desire to step outside existing linguistic and physical borders. Hazekamp’s self-portraits express that identity should not be understood as a logical and coherent thing, but as something that is dynamic, fragmented and as a changeable process that is constantly moving. By showing herself, in drag, against the backdrop of a wide landscape Hazekamp questions the borders and the definition of the concept of Nature.
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