Akeroyd Collection


Martine Syms, Lesson LXXV, 2017

In this endless, silent loop, Martine Syms is seen in three-quarter profile against a plain black background. Framed from the chest up, wearing a brown t-shirt and with braided hair, the artist can be seen covered in milk. We see how it has poured down Syms’s face, hairline, braids, and torso. Its thick residue covering her clothes and skin. In the time it takes to draw breath and blink, the scene is looped, the only other sign of movement are the drips from her chin that fall and then repeat in a cycle that seemingly defies gravity. This powerful, almost still image reminds us that milk is often used by protestors to relieve the painful effects of tear gas. Protestors pour it on their faces and the face of their fellow demonstrators to neutralize the acidic sting of police brutality and suppression. In the context of increased demonstrations against racist violence in the United States and other parts of the world, and at a time when actions against the democratic right to protest are intensifying, the work reveals an unmistakable political impetus in quietly powerful terms.

MediumSingle-channel video (colour), continuously looping, inset in MDF pedestal mount
Duration30 seconds, looped
Editionof 5