Lynn Hershman Leeson’s First Person Plural
Exhibition Review
Apr 18, 2019
Stefanie Hessler

As Hershman Leeson disappears and Breitmore emerges, it becomes clear how much her work has directly and indirectly influenced younger generations of artists concerned with technology and artifice, like Amalia Ulman or Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin. Quotidian experiences in a mediated world of reality TV and Instagram profiles are grinning grimaces hyperbolizing the fluidity of identity and its performance. That said, the topicality of especially women’s and non-binary identity, in an art field dominated by men, has hardly waned. The question of identity politics remains pertinent in a time when right-wing identitarian alliances usurp emancipatory strategies in a confused, reversed rhetoric to rally against the “threat” of loss of privilege and hegemonic culture, and the “burdens” of political correctness alike. Hershman Leeson, in being all of her characters at once and none of them at all, reminds us of the cyborgian project, urging us to reclaim it from reactionary forces and commodification in biotech industries alike…