Sustaining A Weight | Holly Graham’s First Solo Exhibition In Rome

The exibition will showcase a series of Graham’s new works that span between audio and text, sculptural forms, still and moving images, and questions how ideas of identity and otherness take form and are shaped over time.

by GRIOT - Published on 26/09/2023
Holly Graham, Sustaining a weight, 2023 (dettaglio). Photo: Roberto Apa. COURTESY The British School at Rome.

On September 28, If Body presents Sustaining a Weight, the first solo exhibition in Italy of artist Holly Graham, curated by Sara Alberani and Marta Federici, and organised in collabration with The British School at Rome, where Graham previously resided as a fellow, between January and June 2023.

The artist’s research crosses different epochs and geographies, to question how ideas of identity and otherness take form and are shaped over time, particularly in relation to the perception and understanding of Blackness, ethnicity and race.

Holly Graham, Sustaining a weight 2023. Plywood with ebonised hardwood veneer. Dimensions variable. Exhibited in the exhibition On the meaning of Gossip at the British School at Rome (2023). Photo: Roberto Apa. COURTESY The British School at Rome

The works on display focus on the figurative motif of the blackamoor in Italian furniture design and visual culture, from Baroque art to the present, and document sculptural representations of a Black “other”, often depicted in gestures of servitude and positioned as a functional element supporting tables, trays or candelabra. This line of investigation moves alongside the analysis of passages from the Latin treatise De Architectura, a key text at the basis of the Western architectural canon, in which the Roman writer Vitruvius discusses the function and meanings associated with caryatids, atlases, and talamons – sculptural elements of human figures carved in the round or in high relief, employed as structural support or decorative component in buildings. Graham develops a layered reasoning to question how images and imagery from the past are carried through and reverberate into the present, affecting bodies.

Holly Graham, After Harry Jacobs – Framed Wide By Our Surroundings, Turf Projects, 2019. COURTESY the artist

Holly Graham is a London-based artist whose work looks at ways in which collective histories and identities are formed; through slippery and subjective methods of remembering, and malleable narrative practices. Holly Graham holds a BFA from Oxford University and an MA in Printmaking from the Royal College of Art. Recent solo projects include commissions with: TACO!, London (2021-23); Skelf, Online (2022); Robert Young Antiques, London (2021); Gaada, Shetland (2020); Goldsmiths CCA, Online (2020); and Southwark Park Galleries, London (2020). Holly is an Associate Lecturer at the Royal College of Art, London; and is Co-Founder of Cypher BILLBOARD, London. She was awarded a Sainsbury Scholarship at the British School in Rome for 2023.

Opening: September 28
H. 6-9PM
Opening times
Sep 28 – October 15
Sat-Sun, h. 3-7PM
or by appointment (info)
Lateral Roma

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