in spite of, instead of
flags for countries that don't exist
Born British, Die British
no more quick, quick slow
we give a lead to britain
Brown Girl in the Art World III
‘flags for countries that don’t exist but bodies that do’ is a love letter – written in images – bringing together a carefully selected series of photographs taken by Rene Matić (b. 1997, Peterborough) between 2018 and 2021. Although the photos were taken across England, theirs is not a love letter to this country or any other. As Hannah Black notes in her introduction to the collection, Matić’s rendering of London, and England more broadly, is anti-symbolic, “all drab brick and interior.” Photographs of flag-laden council estates and political graffiti sit amongst portraits of the artist’s friends and family, each centring the cultural signifiers that fill everyday life. Through the photo-series, Matić presents a complicated relationship to British-ness, a relationship full of anger and resentment but complicated by love.
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