We were thrilled to recently produce bespoke lightboxes for artist duo Henry/Bragg, whose poignant work ‘Second Life’ explores the use of alternative identities during traumatic experiences.
Nearly everyone has daydreams or has immersed themselves in escapism at some point. When we experience trauma, the brain works extraordinarily hard to keep us safe and episodic dissociation can be one of the ways your brain tries to adapt. Creating another identity can put distance between ourselves and an overwhelming situation to mitigate a reality collapse or a system overload, which can sometimes happen after a stressful event.
Early in 2021, Henry was suffering from suspected Long Covid, but her symptoms were continuing to get worse and starting in June 2021, she underwent a series of tests that eventually revealed she had cancer. The cycle of blood tests, biopsies, blood transfusions and scans, and treatment, including chemotherapy and immunotherapy, has been frightening and traumatising. To help alleviate the stress, Henry has found herself adopting various alter egos and imagining different fantastical scenarios. The characters and scenes are made up on the fly, with each one relating directly to the procedure she is undergoing.
Henry/Bragg has set about reconstructing these scenes, putting calls out on social media for props and costumes to recreate the spontaneity of Henry’s imagined characters and bring them to life.
London Open 2022 at Whitechapel Gallery
Featured artists were selected from over 2,600 entries by experts, including collector Maria Bukhtoyarova, artist Shezad Dawood, curator and art historian Christine Eyene, gallerist Stephan Tanbin Sastrawidjaja, Whitechapel curators Emily Butler, Inês Costa and Wells Fray-Smith.
The exhibition features works made since 2018 in all media, including painting, sculpture, print, photography, film, sound, digital media, performance and installation.
Until 4 September 2022
77-82 Whitechapel High St,