FLAGS FOR COUNTRIES THAT DON’T EXIST BUT BODIES THAT DO
with foreword by Hannah Black
‘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.
Rene Matić lives and works in London. Through photography, painting, sculpture, film and textiles, their practice explores the immeasurable dimensions of Blackness. Working through the lens of personal experiences as a queer Black womxn living in the diaspora, Matić exposes the fated conflicts and contradictions that one encounters while navigating the world in a body like their own.