Martine Syms’s “Loser Back Home”

June 16, 2023

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Kate Wolf is joined by the acclaimed artist and filmmaker Martine Syms to discuss her new exhibition Loser Back Home, currently on view at Spruth Magers in Los Angeles. Syms’s work in the show encompasses video, sculpture, painting, photography, installation, publishing, and clothes. It merges recognizable brand names with personal ephemera to create a form of self-portraiture and explores the slippery nature of self as distilled through technology, as well as a state of “dysplacement”—a term coined by the historian Barbara Fields to describe the loss of a shared sense of connection to one’s familiar or home country. Last fall, Syms also released her first narrative feature film, The African Desperate, which she co-wrote and directed. The African Desperate (now streaming on MUBI) takes place over the course of 24-hours in the life of an artist named Palace on the day she receives her Masters of Fine Arts degree at a small college in upstate New York, combining formal innovation with humor, pathos, and astute social commentary.

Also, Craig Seligman, author of Who Does That Bitch Think She Is?, returns to recommend Liz Brown’s Twilight Man: Love and Ruin in the Shadows of Hollywood and the Clark Empire.