zachary drucker rhys ernst artists queer transgender relationship biennial photography intimacy opposite oriented couple ftm mtf identity lgbtq lgbtqia lgbt
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Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst
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March 14, 2024
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Showcasing "Relationship", Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst's Transition

Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst debuted their collaborative project, "Relationship," at the 2014 Whitney Biennial. This series showcases 26 photographs that intimately document Drucker and Ernst's journey as a transgender couple from 2008 to 2013. This series captured their raw and unfiltered daily life with authenticity.

In their work "Relationship", Drucker and Ernst explore the themes of identity, intimacy, and self-discovery. They present themselves and each other as both complete and fragmented subjects. The photographs in this work range from indoor settings to outdoor locations and relate to the complex nature of transgender existence. Often, figures and bodies are obscured by objects or reflected in mirrors, encouraging viewers to reflect on what the fluidity of gender and the construction of identity means.

Their transition is showcased through subtle hints, and it captures their daily lives as their identity, self-image, and personal construction evolve, split, and transform. The reflections in the mirrors serve as a constant reminder of this transition, which challenges the traditional notion of gender by presenting a more fluid and nuanced perspective. The gaze here is not external, but it is anchored in the refraction of their own being. 

In addition to the photographic series, Drucker and Ernst worked on a video collaboration, "She Gone Rogue," which brings together legendary transgender performers and activists, Holly Woodlawn, Vaginal Davis, and Flawless Sabrina. This multimedia approach underscores the diversity and richness of transgender experiences, challenging societal norms and expanding the boundaries of representation.

Drucker, a multidisciplinary artist, has exhibited her work internationally, including at theMoMA, the Hammer Museum, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. As a transgender artist, she challenges conventional notions of gender, sexuality, and perception, reshaping the way we engage with visual culture. Together, Zachary and Rhys explore notions of identity and interrogate the intersection of gender and narrative construction. They also co-produced the Amazon TV series "Transparent," further cementing their impact on transgender representation in media.

As part of the "Queer Productions" series organized by the Department of English, "Relationship" stands as an intimate confession and testimony. Through their collaboration, Drucker and Ernst redefine the possibilities of transgender representation, offering a nuanced and authentic portrayal of existence in all its complexity.

Artists' instagram:

@Zachary Drucker

@Rhys Ernst


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