Melanie Ubaldo: En þú ert samt hvítasta dökka manneskja sem ég þekki
June 21–December 15
En þú ert samt hvítasta dökka manneskja sem ég þekki Melanie Ubaldo 21.06. 2021–15.12. 2021
Monday 21 June 2021, between 17.00 and 19.00, the show, En þú ert samt hvítasta dökka manneskja sem ég þekki, by the artist, Melanie Ubaldo, opens on the Sign Gallery, Dugguvogur 43, 104, Reykjavik, Iceland.
I create monuments to my unbelonging. En þú ert samt hvítasta dökka manneskja sem ég þekki, is another addition to my catalog of quotidian insults, snubs, misperceptions, microaggressions and blatant racism that has since characterised my artistic practice; timid veneers that hide violence, hate, misogyny, racism and white supremacy, shrinking one down to submission and silence or to a palatable palate of white validation. Not to further perpetuate this pattern of ignorance, my works are an exercise on linguistic vulnerability, because words wound. It is not the case that sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me. On the contrary, words can hurt in the act of saying them and one should be accountable for inflicting injury to the receiver of hurtful language or on the extreme circumstances of hate speech.
The point of departure in my work is how identity is constructed, transformed and expressed through language and in doing so attempts to break down and question socially transfixed roles and the process of social integration/marginalization of difference. With the strident urgency of racial politics in mind, I hope to interrogate ideas of representation and more specifically the political and cultural ideas that shape one’s understanding of the concept of identity. The concept of identity politics has played a central role within my practice and the approach I employ addresses issues of identity and race in ways that hopefully transcend the limits of representation. In doing so, I reclaim the mechanism of language that racist speech exploits, asking the viewer to bear witness to this personal tale of prejudice and to engage in understanding the historical, political and social bonds that entangle us; conveying an emotional load addressed to the viewer who cannot escape the question on what position one holds in the syntax of power.
Melanie Ubaldo (b. 1992, Philippines) is an Icelandic artist based in Reykjavik. In Ubaldo’s work image and text are inextricably linked, where deconstructionist paintings incorporate text with graffiti like vandalism oftentimes of her own crude experiences of others preconceptions, thus exposing the power of immediate unreflected judgment. She is a co-founder of Lucky 3, a collective of Icelandic artists of Filipino origins. melanieubaldo.com
The show will be up until mid-December 2021