Pressure on Boys (in progress)
Installation, SAVVY Contemporary, 10.01.2019 – 01.02.2019
Pressure on Boys is an installation by Markues examining the pressure society exerts on boys. Its sculptural aesthetic draws from the school gym, a key site of such pressure. The installation consists of 1) decommissioned parachutes of the kind used for cooperative games in physical education in which grommets have been hammered to spell out quotations, 2) Gym mats, gymnastic apparatuses, and medicine balls, which provide an opportunity to sit or rest, and 3) curated texts to be read aloud during the course of the exhibition. The combined elements point to the friction between collective identity and individuation.
To highlight the collectivity and polyphony of boyhood, the installation can only be viewed and perceived in the presence of a public reading that warms up the space. As the readings unfold, so do associations that broaden the idea of what boyhood could be. The installation creates an immersive atmosphere of looseness and slackness where pressure is temporarily lifted.
For Markues, boyhood is not a biological concept but a collective and diverse experience encompassing the different boyhoods of heterosexual and homosexual cis-men, the childhoods of transgender women, the late puberty of transgender men, and also the fetishized boyhood of the twink. In Pressure on Boys, these diverse boyhoods become tangible to and shareable by the viewer. The selection of texts will include Hanns Henny Jahnn’s Perrudja, Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea, Denton Welch’s In Youth Is Pleasure, Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness or bell hooks’s The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love among others.