Exhibition | Justin Vivian Bond My Model / My Self | at | London | Art Week

Justin Vivian Bond My Model / My Self

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The first London solo exhibition of internationally esteemed artist Mx Justin Vivian Bond. The exhibition will draw on Mx Bond’s award-winning practise as writer, singer, painter and performance artist. Creating a performative exhibition space, the gallery will at once reflect the captivating and inspirational writings of this groundbreaking artist whilst containing a body of new and existing video, performance, text, print, sculptural and watercolour works in one installation.


At the heart of the exhibition is a collection of watercolour paintings: a series of Diptychs consisting of portraits of model Karen Graham and Mx Bond. Karen Graham was the face of Estée Lauder Cosmetics from 1970-1985. Juxtaposed with self-portraits of Mx Bond these watercolours reflect and enhance the obsessive nature of the relationship, which developed during v’s adolescence, with the model who v describes “as blank and perfect as the sphinx - only more modern and wearing LOTS of make-up”.


With these images of Karen Graham and throughout the exhibition Mx Bond explores the gateway to self- determination “presented by a subjective association with an external image which allowed me to aspire to internally create an image of myself and for myself where I was able to live in a private state of grace.”


The title of the show “My Model / My Self” references the pop-psychology book “My Mother My Self: The Daughter’s Search for Identity” which was originally published in 1977 by feminist author Nancy Friday. Drawing parallels between this book and the difficulties inherent in the search of the “transchild” to find suitable role models within a traditional familial structure “My Model /My Self” becomes about a journey to escape traditional gender roles through a capitalist phantasm of self-creation as a survival mechanism.


The signifiers of these phantasms are reflected throughout the exhibition by commercially produced, limited edition wallpapers (in collaboration with wallpaper designer George Venson of Voutsa), posters (which include re-contexutalized images of “tear-outs” of photographs of Karen Gramham taken by Viktor Skebneski for Estée Lauder ads) , and sculptural installations including a stack of self-published “My Model / My Self” paperback books formed into the shape of a wishing well. These posters, wallpapers and blank books create a space for contemplation, expectation, and a possibility for the public fulfillment of privately conceived potentialities.


Throughout the length of the exhibition Mx Bond will occasionally appear in performance as the gallery window is transformed into a public/private space with a “step and repeat” made of customised artist wallpaper and set with a red carpe and velvet rope. The artist instructs that this space is only to be occupied by Justin Vivian Bond or Karen Graham.


My Model / My Self is at once autobiographical and reflective of the capitalist impulse to seek validation through identification with external stimulus due to the failure of traditionally binaristic social and familial structures to recognize the realities of complex personal multiplicities. Then again, maybe it’s simply a search for peace.


Artist ( Description ): 

Justin Vivian Bond 

Other Info: 


Venue ( Address ): 

VITRINE Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UW

020 7407 6496 



Other shows from VITRINE

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The Grass at our Feet
03/18/2022 to 05/29/2022
Carlotta Bailly-Borg
01/20/2022 to 02/27/2022
A room in which many of the parts of our lives were placed
01/23/2022 to 03/06/2022



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