an otherwise forgettable party in Los Angeles, a queer Korean American painter
spots a woman who instantly controls the room: gorgeous and distant and utterly
white, the center of everyone's attention. Haunted into adulthood by her Korean
father's abandonment of his family, as well as the specter of her beguiling,
abusive white mother, the painter finds herself caught in a perfect trap. She wants
Hanne, or wants to be her, or to sully her, or destroy her, or consume her, or
some confusion of all the above. Since she's an artist, she will use art to get
closer to Hanne, beginning a series of paintings with her new muse as model. As
for Hanne, what does she want? Her whiteness seems sometimes as cruel as a new
sheet of paper.
the paintings of Hanne become a hit, resulting in the artist's first sold-out
show, she resolves to bring her new muse with her to Berlin, to continue their
work, and her seduction. But, just when the painter is on the verge of her long
a petition started by a Black performance artist begins making the rounds in the
art community, calling for the boycott of major museums and art galleries for their
imperialist and racist practices.
between her desire to support the petition, to be a success, and to possess
Hanne, the painter and her reality become more unstable and
disorienting, unwilling to cut loose
any one of her warring ambitions, yet unable to accommodate them all. Is it any
wonder so many artists self-destruct so spectacularly? Is it perhaps just a bit
exciting to think she could too?
Johanna Hedva (they/them) is a Korean American writer, artist, and musician, who was raised in Los Angeles by a family of witches, and now lives in LA and Berlin. Hedva is the author of the novels Your Love Is Not Good and On Hell, as well as Minerva the Miscarriage of the Brain, a collection of poems, performances, and essays. Their albums are Black Moon Lilith in Pisces in the 4th House and The Sun and the Moon. Their writing has appeared in Triple Canopy, frieze, The White Review, Topical Cream, Spike, and is anthologized in Whitechapel: Documents of Contemporary Art. Their work has been shown in Berlin at Gropius Bau, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Klosterruine, and Institute of Cultural Inquiry; The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London; Performance Space New York; Gyeongnam Art Museum in South Korea; the LA Architecture and Design Museum; the Museum of Contemporary Art on the Moon; and in the Transmediale, Unsound, and Rewire Festivals. Their essay “Sick Woman Theory,” published in 2016, has been translated into 11 languages.
Charlotte Cotton is an independent photography curator and writer. She is the founding and current Artistic Director of Photo Festival Qatar. She has held positions including head of the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, head of programming at the Photographers' Gallery, creative director at the National Media Museum, curator of photography at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and curator in Residence at Metabolic Studio at Los Angeles, where she participated in a program celebrating the legacy of the Woman's Building, founded by Judy Chicago, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville and Arlene Raven. Cotton has curated a number of exhibitions on contemporary photography and her publications include The Photograph as Contemporary Art, Imperfect Beauty, Then Things Went Quiet, Guy Bourdin, and Photography is Magic. She is also the founder of wordswithoutpictures.org (2008-9) and eitherand.org (2012). Words Without Pictures was published as a print and eBook by Aperture in 2010.