Hair & politics, 2012

Installation

In co-autorship with Philip Metz

Cape Town, South Africa

Hair & Politics, 2012 / in co-autorship with Philip Metz / Human hair collected from South African Barber Shops distributed in a 3m diameter circle

About the work

During their residency at Greatmore Studios (Cape Town, South Africa), Alejandra and Philip found a correlation of interest in the body, the way it looks and the stereotypes imposed on, or voluntarily followed by indivi- duals. Both have worked in some way with hair:

 

“Hair is undoubtedly one of the strongest and most symbolic elements on the human body. Hair expresses the role or status of a person in society, whether it be sickness, old age, youth, beauty or ugliness. In spite of this, it is also easy and constantly discarded.”

 

Hair & Politics is a collaborative project between Alejandra and Philip, in which, through the simple process of cleaning  discarded cut hair collected from Barber Shops in South African Townships, seeks to give it a new value.

Nicole Sarmiento, Curator

Cape Town, South Africa

2012

Alejandra and Philip share a profound concern with notions of beauty and the beautiful, thinking about postcolonial modernities and ways in which regimes of seeing, being seen, thinking about and imagining beauty is tied to forms of violence and ways of life that have a genealogy   embedded in colonial knowledge projects and the grooming and construction of modern subjects.

 

Alejandra’s concern is with process, the process of “becoming beautiful […] which is often not so beautiful”, as she    describes it. Alejandra’s sensitive work is as much about the powerful act of listening, as it is about intervening.

Hair politics, along with the politics of who tells the past and how it is told, is not marginal in Philip’s work. The multiple transversals between form and process are as important as the end goal. His work gently inserts itself, breaks down and re- constructs, in order to carry out an ongoing interrogation of unjust presents we live  in.

Hair & Politics, 2012 / in co-autorship with Philip Metz / Human hair collected from South African Barber Shops distributed (Detail)

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