April 11 - May 23
Serving as a sort of sequel to or continuation of her celebrated retrospective last year at Participant Inc., in New York, Greer Lankton’s European premiere consists largely of documentation of her work in an array of formats such as Polaroids, contemporaneous magazine articles, black-and-white photos, and postcards, as well as a smattering of her original dolls, which include likenesses of Divine and Jackie Kennedy. My favorite is Albino Hermaphrodite in a Baby Carriage, 1984, modeled after a hermaphroditic demigod from Fellini Satyricon (1969) but resembling nothing so much as a baby transvestite junkie with a huge erection in a miniature stroller—the perfect gift for an expectant mother. Lankton’s raggedy and abused-looking dolls are lovingly constructed with a dark humor that blatantly defies our era’s fascist protocols of political correctness, which have sadly imposed a standardized reading of her work as melancholy projections of her own transsexual corpus. There’s a morphology here that is far more intriguing than what such an interpretation suggests, and this even comes through in the documentation.
Often becoming works of art in themselves—whether Lankton intended this or not—six untitled photos from 1983 use the restrictions of black-and-white to reduce the dolls’ beings to their starkest contrasts: some are sprawled on the floor, others are propped up in the fading light of day; some look half dead, others long expired, still others merely demented. They could almost be crime scene photos à la documentation of Ed Gein’s own handiwork.