James Bantone examines representations of queer men of colour as they pertain to the artist’s home of Switzerland. Prominently featured is the video series Wha Ha Happened Was… (2018), in which the artist filmed young queer subjects reenacting scenes from a reality TV series Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta. The viewer becomes attuned to bodily gesture and gender performativity. Drawing from his knowledge of production artifice gleaned from a background as a photographer, Bantone’s exhibition uses popular media to bring attention to gender, sexuality and racial representation’s roles in constructing our senses of self.

James Bantone (b. 1992, Geneva) graduated from the Zurich University of the Arts in 2019 and is currently following the Work.Master program at HEAD (Geneva University of Art and Design). Solo exhibitions include He Said, They Said, Coalmine, Winterthur (current) and IM LIVIN, Dynamo Project Room 13, Zurich (2019). Recent group exhibitions include Kiefer Hablitzel/ Göhner Art Prize 2020, Kunsthaus Langenthal, Langenthal (upcoming); Haunted House, Swiss Institute, New York (2020); Decode Dress Code, Goethe Institut, Paris (2020); Plattform20, Kunsthalle Fribourg, Fribourg (2020); 5 Academies: European Photography Award, Cité internationale des Arts, Paris (2019); Camp Fires, UV Studios, Buenos Aires (2019); Goodbye Plastic, Longtang, Zurich (2019); Nouveaux Sacrés, Voiture 14, Marseille (2019). Bantone lives and works between Geneva and Zurich. 

James Bantone’s work builds on an expansive archive of found footage from predominantly Instagram and TikTok, collected and archived by the artist. Through both photography as well as sculpture, Bantone re-interprets and recreates scenes and gestures from this vast collection, exploring the codes in verbal and body language, performativity and self-representation online.


curated by Mohamed Almusibli

04. 12. 2020. > 14. 02. 2021


James Bantone - Wha Ha Happened Was…, 2018