Online-Talk mit Dr. Nigel Lezama und Cyshimi
Beyond the Aesthetics
27.04.23, 17 Uhr via Zoom
Im Rahmen der Ausstellung NAILGASM. Maniküre, Mode und Gesellschaft laden wir Dr. Nigel Lezama, Außerordentlicher Professor für moderne Sprachen, Literatur und Kultur an der Brock University in Ontario, Kanada, und die in Brasilien arbeitende transdisziplinäre Künstlerin Viviane Lee Hsu/Cyshimi ein, über den jüngsten Aufschwung der Nail Art im Mainstream zu diskutieren.
Während des Vortrags werden wir uns mit der Nail Art als Modedesignpraxis befassen, aber auch ihre Verbindungen zu Self-Care, Identität und Aktivismus untersuchen.
Interview with Dr. Nigel Lezama und Cyshimi:
Nigel, last year you wrote a text called « Cardi B’s Nails: The Excess of Gender, Race, and the Commodity »: can you explain to us what led you to write a text about her, and more specifically, her nails?
Dr. Nigel Lezama: It's a funny story. Back in 2017, after Cardi B’ released her first song “Bodak Yellow,” which I loved, I started to see more and more young women sporting artistic manicures. One of Cardi’s signatures from the beginning of her cultural currency was her artistic manicures. What was really interesting was that Cardi took this practice that was considered “hood” style or street style and paired it with a high-end aesthetic. For example, she would match her nails to her Hermès Birkin bags. After that, I saw a lot of young, white women with these nails, that up until then had been a racialized aesthetic. What I mean is that it was part of a so-called ghetto fabulous or stripper style, that was not really accepted as a practice of “respectability.” But when I was browsing or shopping in expensive department stores, I saw that sales associates and customers had these exceptionally long and decorated nails. It was obvious that something was changing. I wasn’t quite sure if I was witnessing an example of appropriation or of appreciation. So I decided to do a deep dive on manicure culture and see what I could figure out.
Cyshimi: Performative sculptures essentially means that the nail sculpture is not just a static object or an object to contemplate, but it's actually a sculpture that is part of an alive and expressive body and so the nails bend to the wearer the same way that the wearer bends to the nails. As a nail artist, I mold acrylic to create nails and the acrylic molds me back, it hits and rebounds. Wearing nails and nail sculptures changes the way you deal with the world physically and also in an abstract form, when it changes the way people see you and the way you start seeing yourself. Nails are a representation of your identity and how your body can expand and once you wear these body objects you notice your performance changes too.