Elephant 31

Summer 2017



Beyond Gender: Redefining Identity and Sexuality for the 21st Century

“If there was a clearly defined place for me to go, where I would be welcomed and at peace, I would surely have gone there many years ago.” Justin Vivian Bond is one of a growing number of artists who explore gender identity in non-binary terms.

In this issue, we look around the world to find the artists who are redefining gender for the twenty-first century and, in many cases, doing away with such definitions altogether. Chinese photographer Ren Hang, who tragically died in February, is central to our investigation as we trace his journey beyond gender to capture a world of giddy, boundary-defying freedom. “Genders can be attached and detached from the body. Like dildos, you can have many,” according to US artist A.L. Steiner. In Ghana we speak to Eric Gyamfi, whose work investigates universal concepts of gender but is strongly rooted in the local, while in Japan we meet Yoshiko Shimada, one of the first artists there to use the f-word—feminism.

In our Journal section, Maki Hakui investigate the cultural phenomenon of “Boys’ Love” manga in Japan while Andrew Spyrou reveals the art of Athens when Documenta isn’t in town. Columnists Mel Byars discusses psychedelic design and Ben Eastham hails the return of the art object.

There’s also a Paper Gallery dedicated to the lucid illustrative dreaming of Klaus Kremmerz, in addition to Encounters with Jose Dávila, Marcel Dzama, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Kahlil Joseph, Santiago Sierra and Fabienne Verdier.