Switch 8

C-Print, 2009

50.8 x 40.64 cm each
$5 100
Switch presents pairs of classic studio portraits of heterosexual couples. Upon closer examination, however, each diptych portrays two models, not four. Levine dresses each model as a man in one image and a woman in the other. This way, he gives no clues to the subjects’ lived genders, therefore challenging the idea that gender is stable, consistent, or single. A parody of traditional portrait studio images, the project challenges the gender roles espoused by such photographs, subverting imagery of “normative” existence. Levine is aiming to reconstruct relationship dynamics with a queer and camp sensibility.
Biographical note
JJ Levine is an image-based artist, living and working in Tiohti:áke/Montreal, known for his compelling body of work in portraiture. Levine holds an MFA in photography from Concordia University. His work has been exhibited in museums and galleries and at art festivals in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and numerous European countries. His artwork and writing have been published in academic journals, including Photography and Culture (UK). Levine’s images have also been featured in art magazines and newspapers internationally, such as Ciel variable (Canada), Esse (Canada), Slate (US), The Guardian Observer (UK and US), and Society (France). His work is in several permanent collections, including the Musée national des beaux-arts du Quebec, Hydro-Québec, and Musée Pointe-à-Callière. In 2015, Levine self-published two artist books: Queer Portraits: 2006–2015 and Switch. Levine’s art practice balances a radical queer agenda with a strong formal aesthetic.