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Rowan Renee
~ New York

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Rowan Renee Artist Statement: "My work explores how queer identity is mediated by the law. Through image, text and installation, I elaborate themes of authorship, representation and erasure in State records and personal archives. I appropriate and transform official records through labor-intensive processes that engage my genderqueer body. These artifacts become counter-archives that repair histories of trauma, articulating new aesthetics and possibilities for pleasure under conditions of abjection.”


No Spirit for Me
Case File

By Rowan Renee New York: Rowan Renee, 2021. Edition of 4.

8 x 9 x 1.5" hand-made accordion pocket file with thread and circle closure. 10 hand printed photo-lithographs on French Paper. Individually signed and numbered. Each print enclosed in a vellum sleeve with laser-printed excerpts from the case file. Included are ten cards letterpress printed with artist's text. Letterpress printed with polymer plates, hand-set type, and gold-foil. Typeset in New Caslon, Modern Italic and Elite. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Rowan Renee: "'No Spirit For Me: Case File' re-presents appropriated police evidence photographs from their father's criminal case file, alongside the artist's descriptive text based on memories stirred by the places and objects depicted. Through these documents, Rowan Renee tracks how the justice process failed in a case that the State hailed as an example of justice served. Through their labor-intensive practice, the act of making becomes a vehicle for imagining transformative justice.

"'The No Spirit For Me: Case File' uses the book-form of a legal accordion file to create a more intimate version of the immersive installation of the same name, which was originally exhibited within a fictitious police evidence room. The book includes … photo-lithographs ... with laser-printed excerpts from the case file. They are accompanied by a set of ten cards … printed with the artist's descriptive text. All ten sets are organized in a hand-made accordion file.

"The installation 'No Spirit For Me' was included in the critically acclaimed exhibition 'Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration', curated by Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood, at MoMA PS1. 'No Spirit For Me' will tour nationally with 'Marking Time' to multiple venues, through 2024. The images contained in the artist book have also been exhibited, separately from the installation, in the 2020 Aperture Summer Open and Eastern Connecticut State University. "

Jessica Lynne interview with Rowan Renee, "Can Photographs Heal When the Carceral State Fails?" January 28, 2021 : "Rowan Renee transformed their father's criminal case records into works of art that signal new ways for thinking about justice."

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Page last update: 09.29.2021


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