New York

Hayv Kahraman, Not Quite Human 8, 2019, oil on panel, 60 × 60".

Hayv Kahraman, Not Quite Human 8, 2019, oil on panel, 60 × 60".

Hayv Kahraman

Jack Shainman Gallery | West 20th Street

“She reminds me of that Mexican artist Frida Kahlo,” said a middle-aged man as he scanned new works by Hayv Kahraman depicting her constant subject: a black-haired woman with fair skin, poppy-red lips, and large, heavy-lidded eyes. It may have been this figure’s unapologetic unibrow that inspired the comment. But Kahraman, who is from Iraq, also shares the tendency of “that Mexican artist” to weaponize reductive views of her ethnicity and sexuality in paintings as subversive as they are beautiful. She has described her recurring character as an extension of herself: an avatar of her desperation to assimilate as a teenage refugee in Sweden and of her subsequent reconnection with her heritage.

In this exhibition, Kahraman cast her surrogates as contortionists kinked and folded into severe positions. Wearing leotards patterned with the tessellated ten-pointed stars, diamonds, and hexagons

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