Curated by Melissa Harris, editor-at-large of Aperture Foundation, where she has worked for more than twenty-five years, including as editor-in-chief of Aperture magazine from 2002 to 2012; the exhibition explores the notions of the search, projection and invention of possible alternative identities, hovering between authentic, idealized, and universal selves. Playing with gender tropes, stereotypes, sense of place, and future perspectives, the artists who make up “Role Play” interrogate individuality as we know it and as it might be. Since its invention, one of the most suitable visual languages to investigate otherness is undoubtedly photography.
“ An alter ego, persona, or avatar may be aspirational; it may relate to one’s personal and cultural history and sense of otherness; it may be a form of activism, or a means of maneuvering through entrenched, even polarized positions, toward empathy: putting oneself in another’s shoes.”
Its evolution and transformation in filmic languages, the widespread diffusion of online social communities and virtual platforms, the future developments of the Metaverse and the subsequent emergence of digital avatars have intensified the urgency to explore self and others through role-playing, reinforcing our obsession with alternative selves. Hence, the alter-ego creation and the proliferation of selves are possible strategies for understanding each individual’s essence and persona.
“Role Play” features works by artists Meriem Bennani, Juno Calypso, Cao Fei, Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley, Beatrice Marchi, Darius Mikšys, Narcissister, Haruka Sakaguchi & Griselda San Martin, Tomoko Sawada, Bogosi Sekhukhuni, and Amalia Ulman in a light installation project, conceived by the creative agency Random Studio for the two exhibition floors of Osservatorio.