I read the feature in Artforum about Josephine Pryde's current and upcoming retrospective and I got excited about her so here she is! Accompanied by quotes that I liked from said feature: Test Subjects, written by Tom Holert.
"If one traces Pryde's oeuvre through the sequence of her exhibitions, all of which are carefully titled and accompanied by poignantly phrased press releases (some of which are penned at least partially by the artist herself), a certain modularity begins to loom as she delineates themes and subthemes that engage the institutionalization and commodification of art, therapeutic systems of domination and control, mechanical and biological reproduction, experimentation, gender, and animal -and childhood. She uses a serial approach to explore such concerns in greater depth, while carefully calibrating the balance between the series as alleged whole and the single picture as alleged part,"
"Another challenge taken up deliberately in this series, is the depicted animals' limited range of expression. Obviously, guinea pigs don't know how to pose; their gaze into the lens(or, simply, at the camera) is uniform. Those insufficiently attuned to the subtleties of rodent psychology may be hard pressed to discern any change in mood or feelings from this unvarying blank stare."
"The fact that cuteness is regularly deployed to generate and orchestrate condescension and humiliation, reinforcing the superiority of humans in relation to animal, and of adults in relation to children. The anthropomorphism that is a central strategy of the narcissistic 'cute worldview,' Harris says, 'is one of massive chauvinism, which rewrites the universe according to an iconographic agenda dominated by the pathetic fallacy.' So the production of cuteness- from kawaii to the jeune fille -should certainly not be dismissed as innocuous, irrelevant, and artless but acknowledged as a powerful, 'all consuming folk religion' that reduces, transforms, and anesthetizes reality."
"For the images and objects are both about the possible therapeutic nature of the psychic attachment to art (whether through its aesthetic pleasure or its social dynamics) and at the same time serve to model a therapy that positions the works ersatz analysts and the viewers as patients. Here as elsewhere in Pryde's exhibitionary proposals, the ultimate task is to acknowledge one's own potential place in the force field of theoretical intimations, historical references, feminist criticism, and fictional allusions that the artist is mapping out. It's a tough job, especially since sooner or later we come to realize that, without fail, it is the role of the test subject, the guinea pig, that awaits us."