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Zackary Drucker & Rhys Ernst

Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst, Relationship #11 (Palindromes), 2008-2014. Courtesy of the artists and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.

Relationship, 2008-2014
She Gone Rogue, 2012

Relationship, a series of intimate snapshots depicting the arc of the artists’ real-life love story, was featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. A New York Times preview of the Whitney Biennial described Relationship as “an especially provocative photographic diary that chronicles the couple’s five-and-a-half year relationship, in which one transitioned from female to male, and the other from male to female. Until now, this had been a private journal.” (arts writer Carol Vogel)

Taken between 2008 and 2014, the photographs are an intimate, voyeuristic view into the private relationship of two individuals. The portraits convey a specific time and place—the sexuality of two people in love and living in Los Angeles, who have opted for a non-operative transition into an altered gender existence on hormones. As both the subjects and creators of these images, Drucker and Ernst engage varying elements of self-fashioning. Representing themselves in the midst of shifting subjectivities and identities and making images that are both unguarded as well as performative. Relationship is an extension of their narrative filmmaking practice.

Collectively, the photographs become a cinematic version of their romantic and creative collaboration. Simultaneously fact and fiction, they disclose the pair as self-consciously and conspicuously presenting themselves, offering autobiography as ambiguity and unraveling identity as a construction. Zackary Drucker says, “Our bodies are a microcosm of the greater external world as it shifts to a more polymorphous spectrum of sexuality. We are all collectively morphing and transforming together, and this is just one story of an opposite-oriented transgender couple living in Los Angeles.”

She Gone Rogue engages a world of dream-like magical realism. It is a trans feminine take on the “Hero’s Journey,” offering kaleidoscopic entry into parallel dimensions, where time, space, age and gender collapse in a whirlpool of divergent possibilities.

She Gone Rogue was commissioned by the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and premiered in June 2012 as part of the exhibition Made in L.A. (2012). It was included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial and at Outfest, where it won the Grand Jury Prize for Short Experimental Film.

Adapted from the artists’ statements


Artists/Filmmakers Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst are extreme collaborators whose works address layers of representational identity transcendence, futuregender, and living life in a human body. Relationship (2008-2014), an autobiographical photo chronicle of Drucker and Ernst’s romantic partnership, premiered at the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Their fantastical hero’s journey She Gone Rogue (2012) was shown at the 2012 Made in LA Biennial at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum, New York; Fan the Flames, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; and at Outfest, where it won the Grand Jury Prize for Short Experimental Film. Collectively and separately, they have shown work at venues such as Sundance, MOMA PS1, Oberhausen, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Deitch Projects, Leo Koenig Projekte, Chicago International Film Festival, REDCAT, LACE, Invisible Exports in New York, Luis De Jesus in Los Angeles, the Moscow International Biennale For Young Art, and at Les Recontres Internationales Paris/Berlin/Madrid. Currently, they are both Associate Producers of the Amazon television series Transparent. Drucker and Ernst live and work in Los Angeles.

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