AA|LA is pleased to announce in the name of love, an exhibition of new works by Cecilia Salama. Examining the extreme policing of bodies and interpersonal communication, Salama presents examples in which coerced consent and involuntary transparency replace love, trust and safety in contemporary society.
These concepts of consent and transparency are embodied in the video installation, The Back of my Hand and Two Fingers. The video and accompanying printed rug intersperses furtive recordings of the artist being subjected to a TSA pat down with gameplay footage from Grand Theft Auto. The video game screen-captures portray a prisoner unable to escape a jail cell and a first-person strip-club encounter. These examples of intimate touching
highlight the lack of autonomy over one’s own body under dominant structures in contemporary society.
In a series of aluminum prints, Salama introduces three objects bound by their feminine aesthetic: a hot pink “burner” phone, a pink latex glove, and a platform heel decorated with butterfly charms. CZ Phone features the namesake item, which is the most commonly smuggled model of cellphone into penitentiaries. The width of a finger, it is small enough to fit inside a body cavity. Pre-Check presents a pink latex glove that is employed by the
TSA during breast cancer awareness month for a highly invasive pat down. Mostly done in public and surrounded by other travellers, a TSA pat down subjects the flyer through a routine of forced but naturalized touching. The “back of the hand” is a frequent gesture used to make the encounter feel less personal, sexual, and invasive. Pleaser, referring to the pink “pleaser” stripper shoe, alludes to the tiered system of consensual touching at stripclubs,
which varies based on the amount a client pays. The feminine aesthetic of these objects—the pink and pastel colors, charming size and shapes—conceal their complicated position within male-dominated structures.
Salama further contrasts aggressive and delicate forms in her sculptural works. in the name of love features floral imagery printed on weighted velvet. The fabric is constrained by baby blue cargo straps in an imposing vitrine that is repeatedly engraved with title of the work. For Kathryn consists of a chalky resin head and an acetate rod, surrounded on the floor by heart-shaped locks and keys. A staff that can be wielded as a symbol of violent power,
its dominance is undermined by its pink color and submissive placement.