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.
Forward by Hannah Black. Published by Arcadia Missa, 2021.***
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.