Catherine OpieBinding Ties
Catherine Opie, Bo, 1994, C-print, 152.4 x 76.2 cm © Catherine Opie, Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, London, and Seoul
Since the 1990s Catherine Opie’s photographs have challenged and illuminated our understanding of notions of personal and political affiliation. Opie has in this time firmly established an international reputation as one of the leading photographers of her generation. This is the first survey of the artist’s work in Australia.
While Opie remains best known for her portraits of leather dykes, drag performers and transgender members of her queer community in San Francisco and Los Angeles in the nineties, the world around these works has shifted seismically. Today, they may be read in light of contemporary understandings of gender and sexuality as more fluid, the limits of community and kinship as increasingly porous and concepts of citizenship progressively more inclusive and accountable. The exhibition at Heide traverses Opie’s early, most recognisable works exploring constructions of gender and sexuality, through alternative conceptions of the nuclear household, to more recent musings on solidarity and collective action in the face of proliferating global crises.
Join guest curator Brooke Babington for an introduction to the exhibition and Catherine Opie’s work
Opie’s works demonstrate a mastery of photographic technologies and genres to offer us a family album of sorts—representing affiliation beyond the traditional bonds of personal and group identification, notions of ‘the family’ and ‘the community’. A consistent motivation across Opie’s three decades of work, these ideas offer us new and challenging ways of thinking through the role of the individual in a rapidly changing world.