Martine Syms, Threat Model Official Sticker Collection, 2018
Edition of 100 + 5APs
The Institute of Contemporary Arts is pleased to present this edition produced by Martine Syms exclusively for the institution.
Martine Syms is an American artist based in Los Angeles who works across publishing, video and performance. Describing herself as a ‘conceptual entrepreneur’, Syms’ broad, conceptually rigorous practice has gained the artist wide recognition.
Using these various creative modes to examine representations of blackness, Syms probes its relationship to feminist thought, radical traditions and language. The artist’s research-based practice deftly references theoretical models concerning the creation of identity, gesture and assumptions regarding gender and racial inequalities.
Interwoven with humour and social commentary, Threat Model Official Sticker Collection references her most recent body of work, exhibited at her first solo UK exhibition Grand Calme, at Sadie Coles HQ in 2018.
Often utilising the structures that form our post-internet communications in her work, for Grand Calme, Syms co-opted the ‘threat model system’ – a digital diagram of potential threats and vulnerabilities in a software system. Presenting it as a decal across the entirety of the gallery, Syms mutated the system from a rationalised web of diagrammatic controls into one which navigates the neuroses of the artist. Through the arrows and dialogue boxes decaled on the wall of the gallery, Syms’ internal world was generously laid bare to the viewer.
Punctuating this digital diagram – as visual signifiers – were the images presented here. Flashing up as recognisable symbols, the images ground the work in the physicality of the everyday lived experience of the artist, offsetting the digital against analogue elements of human connection. These images were repeated in Syms’ video work Mythiccbeing, which was presented at Bridget Donahue, New York, concurrently to Grand Calme.
Martine Syms (born1988) lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Selected solo exhibitions include Martine Syms, Secession, Vienna, Austria, (2019); Martine Syms, Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, (2019); Incense Sweaters & Ice, Graham Foundation, Chicago, Illinois, (2019); Big Surprise, Bridget Donahue, New York, (2018); 30 SHE MAD: Laughing Gas, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, (2018); Grand Calme, Sadie Coles HQ, London, United Kingdom, (2018); Front International: Cleveland Triennial For Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Ohio (2018); Contemporary Projects: Martine Syms, Serralves
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