This exhibition of Haitian-American artist Vickie Pierre’s assemblages is both a memorial for what has passed and a desire for what is to come. Interested in studying how one goes about structuring their identity, Miami-based artist Pierre pays homage to the French and larger European architectural design that influenced Haitian culture while also subverting it. By employing the “beautiful grotesque” Pierre crafts aesthetically pleasing vignettes that, once the nuanced details are considered, reveal a deeper truth.
Certain objects are repeated throughout the exhibition: glittering plastic beading, vintage Avon perfume bottles shaped like women in period skirts, wall sconces, galleon ships, and faux foliage. While maintaining a base sentiment of whimsical décor, filtered through Pierre’s personal history, we now see interconnectedness (beads), the unattainable female body (perfume bottles), and slave ships (galleons). Numerous fractured identities are part of the “beautiful grotesque.”
For the first time seen altogether, Pierre’s assemblages reveal that there is not one but several narratives and that one’s identity can be contingent rather than fixed. As Pierre has said, she resolves to “maintain the journey toward a future of transformative and tangible change.”
Vickie Pierre has been commissioned to create two murals at the entrance to the Museum in the Perper Courtyard. Procession, A Sort of Homecoming (after Kentridge + U2) is a parade of figures dancing across a decorative background that echoes the feminine forms seen in this exhibition.
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