The practice of Martine Syms is distinguished by its boundlessness: her subjects move across media—print and web publishing, photography, moving image, installation, AI, software—dissolving the lines between these forms. One of the most insightful and important artists to show how digital media shapes our culture, Syms often draws upon personal stories, oral histories, and cultural references to create transfixing fictions that reflect back on contemporary life and subjecthood.
Martine Syms: Grio College presents an expansive selection of Syms’ work, featuring major new and recent works. The exhibition includes her now iconic installation on gesture and femininity Borrowed Lady (2016), which was recently acquired by the Marieluise Hessel Collection, as well as recent installations Ugly Plymouths (2020), an immersive one-act play across three screens, and DED (2021), a gripping animation that follows an avatar of the artist moving through a digital netherworld.
Grio College also emphasizes the artist’s versatile approach to photography, highlighting the many scales and methods through which she approaches image-making. Installations such as Misdirected Kiss (2016) and Grand Calme (2018), never before seen in the U.S., demonstrate how her research-based projects come to build entire environments, with photographs placed on the floor, walls, and interwoven into layered collages.
The exhibition is also accompanied by a screening of Syms’ first feature film The African Desperate (2022), and premieres related new photographic works and drawings.