Magazine article Artforum International

The Project. (Reviews)

Magazine article Artforum International

The Project. (Reviews)

Article excerpt

TRACEY ROSE

History is constantly scoured for anything sufficiently passe to import to the present as currency of contemporary cool. A likely candidate would be early feminist art, for a more neglected genre you're not likely to find--but things have definitely begun to change. A new generation is producing a feminist art that is expansive in its attention to fractious subject positions occurring under social regimes that impose essentialist views of gender and race. At the forefront is Tracey Rose, a young South African artist who grew up under apartheid classified as "colored" and whose personal experiences and anger motivate a politically grounded, performance-based practice.

Part of Rose's appeal is her fluid referencing of '60s and '70s performance art. When pushing herself beyond the point of physical exhaustion, parodying racial stereotypes, or overlaying sex with violence and pleasure with pain, Rose locates herself among women who have previously confronted themselves (and others) in their art. Valie Export, Marina Abramovic, and Adrian Piper come to mind--all were inventing formal languages to "break through the frame" of gender and race around the time Rose was born.

Breaking through frames is a literal act in TKO, 2000, one of several DVD projections in Rose's second one-person show in New York. In the video, four cameras capture a nude Rose during a punishing workout. One camera was embedded in a boxing bag that spins under her punches; the other three were variously positioned inside the makeshift architectural structure in which the event occurs. The single-channel result is that Rose appears to box the camera and herself, while she also seems boxed in by the constantly shifting planes of the temporary walls that surround her. Although the work is projected onto a translucent scrim as a grainy black-and-white image--which creates a "vintage" look--editing technology sets Rose's art apart from anything predigital. …

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