Sienna Takabe: GLOSS GORE
Curated by Betty McGhee
Hosted by Diafano
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Sienna Takabe's pop-up installation, GLOSS GORE, presents an unapologetic cuteness and
femininity inspired by gothic lolita and Harajuku fashion, throwing it into stark relief with forces that seek to
both fetishize and corrode innocence. Through avant-garde fashion, painting, performance and
installation, Takabe demonstrates aesthetic tactics of defense and the transformations they incur.
A girl lays on her bed, gazing into the screen of a laptop as she browses Omegle, a popular online chat
website that randomly pairs users in one-on-one video chat sessions. Those of Takabe's generation have
a near-universal memory of sleepovers spent on sites like this, where they would inevitably be paired with
users exposing their genitals or pleasuring themselves. The girl behind the laptop wears armor for purity:
her identity is hidden by a balaclava adorned with pearls; her figure obfuscated by a structured garment
made of repurposed quilts and tulle; embellished with clear vinyl, ribbons and knives, the garment both
protects against an enemy while also alluding to an internal hurt. The installation repositions the power
dynamic between the innocent and the predatory, enacting a ricochet of voyeurism: as the audience
strains to peer over the girl's shoulder to view the screen, anonymous users are confronted with a gaggle
of unexpected onlookers.
A dress form cloaked in a phantasmal garment of quilted cotton and metal clasps looms over the viewers,
its enormously long arms extending across the ground. The hood obscures the wearer's face, creating
the same protective barrier of anonymity enjoyed by users online. Two prosthetic hands emerge from the
sleeves, one holding a small photograph of Takabe as a child. The sleeping angel she once was is
contrasted with this eerie specter of who we become when tasked with preserving our innocence, or
rather, how one must compromise their tenderness and vulnerability for safety.
The physical avatar for Takabe is manifested in her paintings, depicting femme characters wearing her
designs. They examine their reflection, they tumble out of bed. The latter has the same tattoos as Takabe.
Their empty eyes reflect back the viewer's gaze, impenetrable, secure.