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Michelle Lee Johnson {she/they} (b. 1996, Los Angeles, CA, USA) is an American visual artist living and practicing in London, UK. They are currently pursuing an MFA at Goldsmiths, University of London.

 

My practice exists across sculpture, video, sound, and installation. I am interested in ghosts, scraps, kitsch, and decay—attending to these residues becomes my process to address the materiality of different subjecthoods. Often with a humorous or peculiar affect, my work explores the dialectic generated within the unresolved contradictions experienced between polarities: belonging and alienation; care and neglect; queerness and conformity; mundane and absurd; desire and disgust. I am attempting to contend with feeling and existing across a spectrum through my work.

I think through material as subjects that contribute to my conceptual themes. History, identity, and place-making are uncovered by giving attention to what is usually hidden or discarded. How do things or beings become subjects of what they are subjected to? How are objects animated through the systems and conditions that produce them?

The body becomes a reoccurring theme in my work as a site of transformation, loss, augmentation, permeability, and flux. My work is curious about how we experience existing inside ourselves. In thinking through my own queerness, the body becomes a site of constraint and authority over us, while also allowing for moments to claim, or re-claim, our bodies and expressions.

My current interest plays with pigeons as a subject to think through the mess in searching out one’s flock in public and digital spaces. Alongside an ongoing archive of leaflets, pamphlets, and ephemera collected in/from public spaces, I am interested in why and how people search out for community, care, and belonging. What does collective care and collective neglect look like?

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