Niquelle La Touche is a London based multi disciplinary artist of Dominican descent presently pursuing her degree in Fine Art and English Literature at the University of Reading .
We have been following her artistic growth for quite some time and this summer will be working with her on a short dance film ( we are excited!) . In between her studies and dance classes ( as a teacher ) , Niquelle has managed to curate a truly fascinating exhibition ”#READART’ which in her own words is …
“#READART” (R.A.) is an ongoing project merging the boundaries between Fine Art and literature and focuses on the power of subjectivity. R.A. becomes a visual embodiment of the “mark” which has “inexhaustible access to redefinition” (Derrida, Signature Event Context). R.A. is an immersive experience which surrenders the role of the author. All content is generated by the public and the artist (Niquelle LaTouche) acts only as the curator to reframe it within the limits of the limits of (RE)reading. The ambiguous titling “#READART” plays on the words “Read” (past tense) and “Read” (actively and present tense) to highlight the importance of the latter, in hopes to disassemble “fixed” terms and their meaning through actively (re)reading. The hashtag included in the title is concentrating on the social culture of trending topics, hashtags usually are used to define in the shortest way possible. “#READART” avoids the popular habit of shortcutting and opens up a space to redefine. The three works: “#READ” , “(S)HE” and “What Is a WOMAN?” question the purpose of literary discourse in order to construct identity, specifically gender.
“#READ” is a textual installation based upon works by Ghulam Mohammad, the installation plays with positive and negative space and uses the materiality of the words as the walls which shape the space which you wander through. The texts are submitted by the public answering what a woman is and are a literal boundary in the space. These walls act as the constructed boundaries of language. The shape, look and path of the space is enclosed by the literature and although the texts are submitted by several members of the public they all act to change and reshape the way in which one can encounter the series of works. The texts, much like language, forces the audience to conform to its pathway. “#READ” is a visual representation of the restriction and limits of literary construction.
“(S)HE” explores the limits of the sexed body. The sound sculpture uses audio from the public answering “What Is a WOMAN?” and displays the duality of interpretation. The sibling faces face outwards and although sharing the same blood (in the same way the male and female share the X chromosome), that difference of the ‘Y’ seemingly causes a social inequality. The characteristics of a female are often expressed in biological terms to differentiate her from the male. But sex, is not gender. Gender is unfixed thus this open space (which represents the mind) between the two outward faces explored in “(S)HE”. Both male and female bodies answer what it means to be woman, the audio has frequent points of overlap in interpretation which shows the lack of importance of sex and how socially we often confuse gendering with biological difference. Gender is a room created in the mind, “(S)HE” allows you to enter this space.
“What Is a WOMAN?”
“What Is a WOMAN?” is focalised around the role of the curator in the art experience. With artist Chantal Miller of ChantiMedia as stimuli, this piece focuses on self-definition. Niquelle LaTouche has reframed and appropriated submissions from several members of the public and incorporated their interpretations into a framing which is focused on the idea of reading. Although all framed within the bounds of the same books the contents are different, much like that of a woman. The various visual interpretations act as a physical (de)construction of the word “Woman” and the reframing has placed the works within the realms of literary boundaries. R.A. encourages people to “write themselves” (Virginia Woolf, Room of one’s Own) as only through self-definition can we encourage an appreciation towards the plurality of interpretation.
The interactive elements of the works will function as symbols of the ephemeral nature of language and as a collection, “#READ” , “(S)HE” and “What Is a WOMAN?” work to deconstruct complex discourse-based ideas. The works draw reference upon early feminist theory and seeks to transcend normative notions of supposedly “fixed” ideas. Avoiding conforming to the constructed boundaries of terms such as “WOMAN”, R.A. problematises the reinforcement of singular, stereotypical definitions which often marginalise.
Check out the video for #READART here and follow Niquelle on her various social media sites listed below
TRACK – RAWW
Produced: Dwayne ‘Melo’ Francis
Vocals from “(S)he” by Niquelle LaTouche