Straight torque, twin series 

19th August – 23rd September 2023
Anna Schwartz Gallery

Amri­ta Hepi, artist and chore­o­g­ra­ph­er, acknowl­edges the black and brown female body as an intri­cate ves­sel for, and of, his­tor­i­cal knowl­edge. Depart­ing from con­ven­tion­al view­points that per­ceive archives as mere repos­i­to­ries of doc­u­men­ta­tion, or bureau­crat­ic enti­ties, Hepi’s work embraces an alter­na­tive. By coa­lesc­ing fact and fic­tion, mem­oir and ethnog­ra­phy, the local and the sin­gu­lar, Hepi revi­talis­es the sta­t­ic notion of the archive into some­thing steeped with poten­tial­i­ty and self discovery. 

In Straight torque, twin series Hepi uses lin­guis­tic mech­a­nisms, specif­i­cal­ly homo­phones, as a fram­ing device. Homo­phones (morning/​mourning, blew/​blue, I’ll/aisle/isle) are defined as words shar­ing iden­ti­cal pro­nun­ci­a­tion but pos­sess­ing dis­tinct mean­ings. By point­ed­ly using the para­dox­i­cal nature of the Eng­lish lan­guage to devel­op a visu­al dialect, Hepi’s work elic­its a spec­trum of effects, rang­ing from frus­tra­tion and fail­ure, to delight and the absur­di­ty of our col­lec­tive reality. 

Cap­tur­ing moments of inti­ma­cy against the back­drop of her birth­place, Townsville’, these fab­ri­cat­ed vignettes fea­ture Hepi’s younger, but strik­ing­ly sim­i­lar-look­ing, sis­ter, who serves as a visu­al and con­cep­tu­al com­pan­ion. A dop­pel­gänger, or homo­phone, both inter­twined, and simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, oth­er. Pre­sent­ed in a high gloss fin­ish, these eerie, fic­tion­alised scenes con­front the onlook­er with the com­plex dynam­ic of the mul­ti­ple and the singular. 

Hepi opens a seam into which the view­er is ush­ered, in order to con­tem­plate the might of lan­guage, and the nuanced, often con­flict­ing, rela­tion­ship between time, mem­o­ry, and the body. The tool of homo­phone, and its inher­ent con­tra­dic­tion ampli­fies the minu­ti­ae of being. Her affir­ma­tion of the archive as an embod­ied and dynam­ic force is a fic­t­o­crit­i­cal dec­la­ra­tion, in which the mir­ror is turned and the oth­er, empowered.


Knight­en­gale phace (night­en­gale face) I, 2023
sin­gle chan­nel, no sound, 3 min­utes 22 seconds

Straight torque, twin series, 2023
Pho­to: Chris­t­ian Capurro

The Blue Tax (the blew tax), 2023
Inkjet print on Ilford Pearl 310gsm
Pho­to: Chris­t­ian Capurro

Too peace sealing, 2023
cus­tom print­ed ver­ti­cal blinds
Pho­to: Chris­t­ian Capurro

Heir 2, Air to the throne, 2023
Inkjet print on Ilford Gal­lerie Pearl 310gsm
Pho­to: Chris­t­ian Capurro