Alumni Spotlight: “Materials of Survival – Designs for Living with HIV”Posted: October 10, 2015
This is the first exhibition of the entire series, Materials of Survival in which artist, photographer and CCSF Photography student alumni, Grahame Perry explores the issues of HIV and long term survival. It’s comes from the personal and communal experiences of being a long term survivor and ties it into the broader ideas of illness, stigma, health and survival. The show grows out of several years of work. Throughout the exhibit, the power of the underlying issues and the struggle to survive are magnified by the scale of the printed images.
According to SF Camerawork which recently featured several pieces from the Materials of Survival series in their Long-Term Survivor Project show,
” This ongoing body of work is a highly imaginative reconfiguring of the visual elements in the life of an HIV-positive survivor. Perry’s at times fantastical depictions of pills, bottles, prescriptions, vials, and other paraphernalia provide a colorful but poignant visual vocabulary with which the artist tells his own story of struggle, uncertainty, memory, and survival. Perry’s work playfully combines graphic and symbolic photographic elements in the creation of abstract images that represent the very real process of the artist’s own quest for meaning and strength in the battle against HIV”.
In considering loss and employing similar strategies, Perry reconfigures the public examples of deaths from AIDS. Using thousands of obituaries, and panels from the Names Project, he creates two large works, Every AIDS Obituary and Healing Quilt. Perry also uses some images from his other series, “Am I Blue?”, self-portraits that address mourning and fear. Lastly, the exhibit considers the present day and how intimacy, activism, and our vision for the future are being reformulated and reimagined.
Coincidentally, the exhibition will be the first in Magnet SF’s new gallery in the new AIDS Foundation building on Castro Street. Because of the neighborhood’s centrality in the struggle against HIV/AIDS, it is especially important for the artist to have the exhibition occur in the heart of the Castro. Many long-term survivors have called the Castro and San Francisco home. This show attempts to address some of the issues for long-term survivors while also placing it in a location which is relevant for gay men negotiating the issues of sexual health today.
The exhibition will run through the end of November and may be viewed anytime during business hours (Mon-Tues 1-6, Wed-Fri 10-8, Sat 10-6).