Holly Graham
Sustaining a Weight

Holly Graham, Work in progress, 2023 [still]

On September 28, If Body presents Sustaining a Weight, the first solo exhibition in Italy of artist Holly Graham, who previously resided at the British School at Rome between January and June 2023. The exhibition, held at Lateral Roma from Sept. 28 to Oct. 15, will showcase a series of Graham’s new works that span between audio and text, sculptural forms, still and moving images. The artist’s research crosses different epochs and geographies, to question how ideas of identity and otherness take form and are shaped over time, particularly in relation to the perception and understanding of blackness, ethnicity and race.

Holly Graham, Studio work in progress, 2023

The works on display focus on the figurative motif of the blackamoor in Italian furniture design and visual culture, from Baroque art to the present, and document sculptural representations of a black “other”, often depicted in gestures of servitude and positioned as a functional element supporting tables, trays or candelabra. This line of investigation moves alongside the analysis of passages from the Latin treatise De Architectura, a key text at the basis of the Western architectural canon, in which the Roman writer Vitruvius discusses the function and meanings associated with caryatids, atlases, and talamons – sculptural elements of human figures carved in the round or in high relief, employed as structural support or decorative component in buildings. Graham develops a layered reasoning to question how images and imagery from the past are carried through and reverberate into the present, affecting bodies.

The exhibition’s opening on Thursday, September 28, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

The exhibition will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., as well as by appointment. For more information, please write to localesproject@gmail.com.


Holly Graham, Studio work in progress, 2023

Holly Graham, Sustaining a weight, 2023. Plywood with ebonised hardwood veneer. Dimensions variable. Exhibited in the exhibition “On the meaning of Gossip” at the British School at Rome, 31 May – 23 June 2023, Rome. Photo by Roberto Apa. Courtesy of the British School at Rome

Holly Graham, After Harry Jacobs – Framed Wide By Our Surroundings, Turf Projects, 2019

Holly Graham, Carefully Cleansed of Labour and Softened by Cooking, Compressor Projects, 2018