Viewers familiar with Narcissister’s edgy pageantry know it’s not the first time she has rhapsodically climaxed to an image of herself. For her performance July 2010 at Anna Kustera Gallery, Narcissister presents Man/Woman, a vignette that exploits the gender binary to reveal the inherent dichotomies in the performance of gender, race and class. Within the fetid confines of a nasty masculine physique emerges a skinny tramp with butter curls and a tastyBlack Tail. Rag doll innocence and fingerless lace gloves meet a surgically enhanced, moderately sadistic and self-obsessed diva porn star unleashing a fountain of repressed sexuality and aggression. Gender is in permanent apocalypse, suggests the bawdry artist whose gestures are lifted from a culture that has made sex serve every imaginable consumer impulse. Narcissister’s work speaks to a condition of contemporary sexuality in which fantasy and projection has subsumed the real. Behind the façade is the women’s relationship to herself that is embodied in the man. Ultimately there is no man, only an extreme form of Narcissism that has female sexual objectification floating belly up in the great abyss. With the pomp of an original poster soul Narcissister probes the ecstasy of the 2-d; a mish mash of lace, leather and posturing derived from pornography, rock n’ roll, advertising and science. In Man/Woman we see Narcissister’s characteristically idiosyncratic lust emboldened by the proclamation that stereotypes don’t only reinforce an impossible standards, they also commit bodies to particular learned physicalities. What epitomizes the pure coquetry of the image if not an aggression against the self? The psyche is always split, the internalized ism seeping in - other as object, other as instrument, other as animal, other as slave, other as fiction, other as milk and night. Disintoxicated by the generalized consumption of sexualized signs, Narcissister’s work is about the disposed black female body and the pathology of (self) love.
- Katie Cercone, 2010