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.