Painting & Drawing
Augustine Auer (American, b. 2000) is a nonbinary artist based in Chattanooga, TN. His art practice centers around the exploration of transgender philosophy and spirituality. Auer creates this work to have open, honest conversations about difficult topics such as gender, mental health, and politics. By challenging one’s perceived norm, all the while providing a safe space for contemplation, Auer believes that positive cultural change can occur.
His current body of work, This is The End, follows the narrative of humanity right before being annihilated in a massive nuclear apocalypse. However, a cosmic entity intervenes to give every human an opportunity to reconstruct themselves in their own image. Post this event, Auer imagines a genderless society, fixating on how alien and psychedelic it may seem, and then translates this into a sensory installation. This is The End will be on display in the 2022 BFA Thesis Exhibition hosted at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Tennessee.
Creature One, 2020; Studio image, 2022; Creature Two, 2020
Upon the introduction of the Neon Fetus to humanity on the brink of their vanquishment, its cosmic influence grasped at the core of humans. Through its will, body and soul became separated, and all of humanity was ejected outside of what was once their shell. Bodies no longer housing the souls that were contained within dulled with each passing second, like an engine cooling down. Existing outside of this empty shell, the souls of humans turned to gaze upon themselves and others but found nothing but an empty white sea. Suddenly, at will, skin, flesh, and bone of the empty vessels became malleable. From this, humanity was given the gift of rebirth. Complete reinvention of the form, the ultimate self, was provided to all souls. The transfiguration of humanity was a spiritual and cosmic event. From it, evolution of a new humanity produced a race of vibrant, stunning, and unpredictable creatures. Humans were now of their own design based upon the desires of the individual, able to shift forms whenever necessary. Now, while the new humanity frolics through space dust and brush the surface of every planet, the Neon Fetus rests upon its largest star, forever visible in the empyrean.
This is The End explores desired ascension from the human form. It is a contemplation on how gender constructs our bodies and spaces, and therefore, proposes a question on how we may evolve when entirely devoid of these physical constructs. It begs of us, “What would a world look like without gender?”
Gender is a deeply human construct, and inherently is a powerful tool of expression. This is because as an abstract concept, it cannot be contained or explained. However, our current relationship with gender has become oppressive. The social construction of gender that exists within the Southern United States roots itself within a colonialist and white supremacist ideology. To exist outside of this binary is dangerously stigmatized in our culture. It is vital for us to challenge our preconceived notions about gender, for us to analyze how these constructions of gender interact with us. We must become aware of what ideologies we possess and uphold that still follow in the tradition of oppression. Crush the oppressor that resides within.
This is an interactive installation that explores the sensory experiences of a genderless world. Touching the art is encouraged.