SCOPE Art Show, Booth C07, Miami Beach - “Cara Said ‘Bacon!’” marks collage artist Kelly Dabbah’s second showcase in Miami presenting four mirrors and one chair. Scope Art Fair is open to the public December 1-5, 2021 with a preview on November 30. The collages work presents a bricolage of consumer and media culture and art historical references investigating judgment. With humor and irony, the works playfully uncover the social pressures provoked by beauty standards while commenting on plastic surgery, body augmentation, and contradictions. Subverting the concept of beauty through her maximalist aesthetic Dabbah invites the viewer to shift from a place of accountability to empowerment as they reflect upon, and see themselves through and in the work.
As we gaze upon our reflection in the mirror, judgment clouds our true reflection. After suffering a terrible bus accident that left her bedridden for months, 18-year old Frida Kahlo delved into the art of portraiture to come to terms with the consequences of the accident. Using a mirror and a small easel Kahlo painted herself and the things around her: “just as I saw them with my own eyes, and nothing more.” As she renegotiated her relationship with her body, her perception of beauty shifted. In Greek mythology, Narcissus falls in love with his own reflection that he sees in a pool of water in a forest. Unable to leave it, he dies of starvation, and a flower springs from the ground. He is the basis for the term we all know too well, narcissism, an obsession with the self. The beauty industry, reality TV, social and other media have pushed our civilization to a point where the picture of perfection that it projects can only be reached through a retouched image. Inspired by Kahlo, Dabbah asks, how can we feel empowered without becoming trapped within judgment, shame, and narcissism while looking ourselves in the mirror.
“My Best Friend, My Worst Enemy” includes a snake, signaling temptation, in the biblical sense, and sexuality according to Freud, and the third eye with a tear. Entertaining the idea to look desirable, Dabbah has collaged images of bacon, cows, and meat beside body parts that are commonplace for augmentation and surgery, the butt and lips. Leaning more into dark humor and cynicism “Cara Said ‘Bacon!’”, which the exhibition takes its title from, is a reference to British model Cara Delavingne’s love for bacon. On one hand, a model liking bacon is funny as it is a common misconception that models do not eat, on the other hand, the artist alludes to women being seen as fresh meat. Flowers are also a reoccurring motif in the series; as flowers wilt so does youth and beauty. Ripe with symbols to decode, Dabbah’s evocative collages shed light on the many contradictions of our contemporary society.
Incorporated into the installation is “You Can Sit on It,” 2021, which serves as a tribute to Los Angeles. It is a chair that penetrates popular lifestyle trends: Botox, a car, lips, an underwear-clad butt, among other things. Tethering on the line of grotesque, the piece represents a sexual awakening and a deep-dive into tactility, clichées, and the bling aesthetics of the LA scene that embraced Dabbah. The artist sourced the chair from an upholstery shop in Burbank and it is clad in her signature style textile, and yes, you really can sit on it.
Leveraging her social media following, Dabbah has gained critical acclaim leading to design partnerships and the launch of her own line of skate decks and bucket hats on NTWRK. For Anna Sui she painted on a line of leather jackets in 2018, this year, invited by Moleskin she customized notebooks during Halloween at Showfields NYC, and most recently she designed wallpaper for the new restaurant Bocaphé Restaurant in New York’s Lower East Side. Working between New York but traveling frequently to Los Angeles, she also collaborates with the music industry, currently with Miami-based singer-songwriter Manu Manzo. Dabbah’s collectors include Derek ‘Mixed by Ali’, Thundercat, and Anderson Paak.
About the Kelly Dabbah
Kelly Dabbah (b. 1991 Geneva) is a collage artist based in New York. Applying collage on a wide range of objets d’art from furniture to fashion Dabbah reinterprets and subverts feminine tropes and symbolism to create an emboldened aesthetic. In her digital collages printed on mirrors, the artist combines brightly colored photographs of friends, her own paintings, and other found imagery to reflect the social pressures of the female experience. Dabbah’s collages invite the viewer to renegotiate their relationship to our oversaturated and mediatized culture. Dabbah’s Middle Eastern heritage and interest in the country’s rich traditions in decorative arts have influenced her maximalist approach to patterns and detail.
With a degree in fashion design from Parsons School of Design, Dabbah seamlessly moves between art, design, and fashion. She has created immersive experiences for Gelareh Mizrahi Concept Store and ArtPark Miami. And, her video work highlighting racial injustice ”Alone Together or Together Alone?” was screened on a billboard on Times Square in conjunction with ZAZ 10 in 2020. Dabbah’s versatile practice reaches beyond the art world and touches viewers to their core.
Please tag @kellydabbah in your posts from the show.
For press and other inquiries please contact:
Anna Mikaela Ekstrand, email@example.com, +1 720 254 2997.