- Museum number
- Object: what you have gained along the way
Imprint of the artist's drag make up, including fluorescent pink eyeshadow, mascara forming tracks under the eyes as though crying, pink blusher and darkly-outlined scarlet lipstick, on a facial wipe. 8 July 2017
Make up on facial wipe
- Production date
- 8 July 2017
Height: 208 millimetres
Width: 170 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The series 'Impressions' documents the artist's drag performances through monotype drawings created by removing caked-on drag makeup with a face wipe. A witty example of the contested boundary between printmaking and drawing, in using their body to create a direct impression on the support Sin echoes works from prehistoric cave art to Yves Klein’s 'Anthropometry' series (1960), and works in the British Museum’s collection such as Anthony Gormley’s 'Body and Soul' (1990, 2004,0602.71.1-9).
Many of these historical precedents were heavily gendered: Klein used the bodies of naked women as passive ‘paintbrushes’, Gormley made impressions of his mouth, penis and anus on softground etching plates. Sin offers a queer perspective on this tradition, harnessing their body’s sloughings as a means of recording its form, recalling other immortalisations of bodily effluvia such as Cornelia Parker’s 'Spitting Sugar' (2003, 2006,0530.5) or Helen Chadwick’s 'Piss Flowers' (1991-2).
The artist notes, "What you have gained along the way' is a monoprint taken directly from the artist's drag makeup at the time of London Pride 2017. The tears which ornamented this particular drag look mourned the corporatisation of an event which began as a protest to liberate queer people, now being instrumentalised to pink wash companies that directly and indirectly harm queer and marginalised people. That mourning extends to all ways that marginalised people become dependent on inescapable capitalist structures. The tears on this wipe also hint that hurting is a part of life, but that it can also be the best teacher.
This work is a part of an ongoing series of monoprints (can also be described as drawings or paintings) taken in the same way, memorialising and acting as a death mask to each character, feeling and drag embodiment performed on that evening before being wiped away. They act as an archive of the feminine labour which forms an essential yet ephemeral part of the artists practice."
(Correspondence with the artist, 17.2.2020, see artist file, Department of Prints and Drawings)
'Impressions' also connects with originary myths of printmaking as derived from the shroud of St Veronica, of which there are many examples in the collection, such as Hans Burgkmair’s 'Sudarium of St Veronica' (1508-1515, 1924,0617.13).
- On display (G90)
- Exhibition history
2022 17 March-28 August, London, BM, G90, Drawing Attention: emerging British artists
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Acquired directly from the artist's studio
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number