Christie Neptune’s “She Fell from Normalcy” Stills
Note On Surrealism, Past and Present
Followers of contemporary surreal art, and perhaps this blog, may forget that surrealism (and it’s precursor, Dada) were politically inspired art movements. Dada’s “anti-philosophy” developed in reaction to World War I. Surrealism became notorious for many reasons. One of these was affiliating itself with the Communist Party, and taking its time in distancing itself from this position after the realities of the Communist Party in Russia became apparent.
But a cursory look at this blog or the Surreal Art Tumblr might get the impression that contemporary surrealism is mainly eye-candy, fantasy, and escapism. Pop Surrealist Mark Ryden’s Meat Show being a glorious exception.
Christie Neptune’s Surreal Video Art
Today we’re pleased to present work by contemporary artist Christie Neptune. Neptune’s video art (below) uses surrealist techniques to explore issues of race, gender, class, and mental health. We’re excited when contemporary artists use the language of surrealism to look at complex issues. Neptune’s work doesn’t oversimplify, or fall into “bumper sticker slogan” or “refrigerator magnet” traps as political art sometimes does. No, that’s the currency of the 24-hour news cycle and the political machines: enticing us with easy answers to difficult problems, and infinitely repeating talking points. Neptune explores complex dynamics in this elegant, inspired, surrealistic video art and exhibition.
She Fell From Normalcy
In She Fell From Normalcy, Christie Neptune uses sound, installation, original writing and video throughout the gallery to build a world stripped of the limitations of race, gender and class. As subject, Neptune employs two females trapped in a sterile, white environment in which they are controlled by an unseen presence; it is only after a cataclysmic break in the system that the females are granted clarity and self-recognition.
Via Hamilton Gallery
She Fell from Normalcy continues through July 30 at Hamiltonian Gallery. For more information, click here.
In 1984, the author and Black feminist, Audre Lorde penned the essay, “Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference,” where a “mythical norm” was defined as “white, thin, male, young, heterosexual, Christian, and financially secure.” Lorde wrote that anyone that exists outside of that identity lives on the margins of “the trappings of power.” In the exhibition She Fell from Normalcy, artist Christie Neptune, counters those hegemonic idealizations described by Lorde through a sci-fi fantasy that centers around blackness, femininity, and a struggle with depression.
Neptune tells The Creators Project, “I deal with depression and it’s my attempt to reconcile that period. I developed this series of work that validates that experience in the African-American female. Depression is typically stigmatized in communities of color. It’s me speaking out and pulling away at those labels that limit my experience.” She adds, “You always hear this thing, ‘black people don’t get depressed that’s some white people shit.’ I decided to build up a mythical norm that is queued to Audre Lorde’s essay, where she describes how we are trying to live up to standards.”