Invites: Darya Diamond

Invites: Darya Diamond
Darya Diamond, 2022. Digital photograph. Courtesy the artist
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Zabludowicz Collection is pleased to present an Invites exhibition by London-based Mexican-American artist Darya Diamond. Working across print, sculpture, audio and film, Diamond’s practice depicts the body as a site of power, pleasure and labour.

The installation’s materiality encapsulates a new multi-channel sound work of covertly recorded and abstracted exchanges between the artist and clients. A complex, emotionally vulnerable excerpt from a series of one-hour sessions of ‘the girlfriend experience’ – a sub-genre of prostitution in which the prostitute plays the client’s ‘ideal’ girlfriend – Diamond destigmatises sexual labour by documenting an unexpected personal interaction. By immersing her viewer in a shared space surrounded by domestic tropes and fragments of intimacy, Diamond peels back the fetishisation of the sex industry to employ its healing and transformative power.

The installation extends from the artist’s 2020 film Judgement Proof, in which she captures the banal scenes and conversations of sex work. Motel rooms and seaside towns form a backdrop for audio recordings of client interactions. Deconstructing the film down to its individual frames and using repeated imagery of lingerie and pornography, Diamond contextualises her past work across screen-printed and rubber-stamped cotton bedsheets.

Responding to the Methodist chapel history of the Invites space, the artist wraps her prints around the beamed architecture, creating a connection to past clients through an altar of cast artefacts and offerings to La Santa Muerte, the Mexican deity of death. The installation is fully carpeted in emerald green and features wall-mounted fixtures: in it, Diamond intersects the motel and the domestic, reclaiming sites of past transactional intimacies. A metaphor for the ritualistic routines of sex work, the installation overlays myth, spiritualism and antiquity to accommodate clients’ emotional and sexual needs.

Darya Diamond (b. 1991, Bay Area, CA, USA) received an MFA from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2020. Recent solo exhibitions include Judgement Proof, Piloto Pardo, London (2020); My Mother the Doctor, Leimin Gallery, Los Angeles (2017). Select group exhibitions include Meatspace, The Koppel Project Hive, London (2021); Rabbit Hole, F Magazine, Houston (2021); Redirecting, Tree Art Museum, Beijing (2020); London Grads Now, Saatchi Gallery, London (2020); and Rabbit Hole, Niche Gallery, Los Angeles (2020). Diamond was selected for the 2021 New Contemporaries and participated in the Frans Masereel Residency programme in Belgium.