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Xavier Schipani: What is I to You?

An upcoming solo exhibition at Superchief Brooklyn explores sexuality and freedom

by Nara Shin
on 07 January 2016

Xavier Schipani, an artist who currently calls Austin, Texas home, will be returning to his native East Coast for a solo exhibition at Superchief Gallery's Brooklyn location. Though Schipani's older work can mostly be found in black and white, his experimentation with color over the past year has been rewarding to observe. It's culminated in five works for "What is I to You?" that are as bold in color as they are in subject. For example, the piece "Me, You and Them" (pictured below) is 15 feet long and illustrates a group orgy—from anal beads to self love—in an inviting, hypnotizing way that might not be possible, say, through photographs. Instead, Schipani's work invites the viewer to stay with no shame.

"I have always been inspired by a naked body and that's what I want my work to convey," Schipani tells CH. "I guess what really got me thinking about all of it stems from technology and how willing people are to accept/take naked photos and send them into the world with no qualms, but eroticism in print/art is still so taboo. I feel like censorship of bodies and closeted desire has created many avenues for me to create sex-positive work that supports pleasure, desire and the beauty of physical connection." Alongside studying painting in college, Schipani also minored in gender studies, triggering a long-term interest in freedom and sexual exploration.

"I myself am transgender, which I don't necessarily identify as, but it has created a great deal of insight for my work. The reason why I don't identify has nothing to do with fear. It has to do solely with the etymology of the prefix 'trans' and its implication that I am in a constant state of evolution, which I feel like we all are as humans. An evolution that is hard enough, one that I do not want to feel separated from but included in," continues Schipani. "'Me, You and Them' is a piece about inclusion, reciprocity and visual pleasure. Every aspect of the piece can be experienced privately and publicly, whether the viewer relates through memory or physical reaction. That contributed greatly to the size of it; I wanted to consume people. The other pieces in the show speak to the same theme, but in a different way."

Catch Schipani's solo exhibition at Tender Trap, Superchief Gallery (66 Greenpoint Ave) from 15-27 January 2016. Works will also be available for purchase via Superchief Gallery's online shop (note: NSFW).

Images courtesy of the artist

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