Almine Rech London is pleased to present Penny & The Dimes: Dimes 4Ever World Tour, Emma Stern's second solo exhibition with the gallery.
Shumon Basar: You once told me how each exhibition you make is like a concept album. What do you mean by that?
Emma Stern: I use that analogy of an album versus “a bunch of singles” as a way to explain that these works — as with many of my past solo exhibitions — are based around a central theme. In the case of my show here in London, it’s a group of characters (“The Band”) that all have a connected backstory. I figured out what each of the characters would look like before I mentally determined their personalities. This in turn allowed me to create the whole story around them.
SB: Why are you so entranced by the idea of avatars?
ES: Bodies have always fascinated me. My Junior year at art school, I got a job at the Cooper Union as a nude model for drawing classes and found myself quite literally “on the other side of the canvas.” This was a rare opportunity to see myself the way other people saw me. I say it is rare because I can’t actually think of another scenario that affords one a similar experience. I pinpoint this as a moment that truly awakened my interest in the reciprocal relationship between artist and muse.
SB: Is there such a thing as "the female gaze"?
ES: I don’t think there is, but I don’t believe in a male gaze either.
— Shumon Basar, writer, editor and curator