JJ Levine, Family — Charles Guilbert, Beyond Borders

[Fall 2019]

By Charles Guilbert

What strikes the eye in JJ Levine’s work is a unique way of challenging gender norms. But when we look more closely, we discover that Levine wants to erase many borders – in both photography practice and in addressing subjects such as family, time, and space.

Levine’s work is composed mainly of three series: Switch, Alone Time, and Queer Portraits. Although the corpus of the first series is complete, the other two are in continual development. Each image in Alone Time shows a couple that is, in fact, composed of a single person embodying male and female roles. Queer Portraits, as its title indicates, presents queer and trans people; the images generally contain a single person, but there are also duos and trios, and some include children.

Recently, thirteen photographs and a video from the Queer Portraits series were brought together for an exhibition titled Intimates,1 a sequel to Family, presented in 2016.2 Some images feature the artist and Harry – both trans people – and their child, Joah. In both exhibitions, Levine deconstructs fixed ideas on identity and social connections. I met with him to talk about the aesthetic and political stances underlying his art.3
Traduit par Käthe Roth

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1 Intimates was presented at Concordia University 10–13 May 2018.
2 Family was presented at La Centrale in Montreal 11 November–9 December 2016.
3 This interview took place on 6 June 2019.