Martine Syms


25 May - 3 July 2021

8 Bury Street, SW1Y / HOMEWORK #8


Videography: Dominique Croshaw

© Sadie Coles HQ, London

SCHQ Electric: Martine Syms

Incense Sweaters & Ice

SCHQ Electric presents Martine Syms’ first feature-length film Incense Sweaters & Ice, made in 2017. The narrative observes the central protagonist, Girl, a traveling nurse, as she progresses through her daily life, and her in person and online interactions with WB (“White Boy”).

Shot from multiple vantage points – shifting from cinematic film, to surveillance cameras and smartphones – the narrative explores the proliferation of and numerous ways in which a person’s image can be recorded and transmitted in both public and private spheres; reflecting a broader interest in Syms’ practice of how this divide is navigated, and in particular by black women. In documenting the mundane experiences of Girl, the camera itself acts as a third character, drawing into question conventions of perception and identity, of looking and being looked at.

Set across three cities – Los Angeles, California; St. Louis, Missouri; and Clarksdale, Mississippi – the film references the geographical route of the 20th century Great Migration, as Girl retraces in reverse the journey made by her forebears. It is through this narrative that landscape is mediated as a site of both quotidian and psychological significance; and Syms’ interrogates how a place can shape its subjects, intergenerationally informing emotion, perception of the self and collective identity.


Mirror with a Memory – a new podcast hosted by Martine Syms and produced by Carnegie Museum of Art is now available to stream online and via the app store. In the six-part series, Syms investigates the intersection of photography, surveillance and artificial intelligence (AI), in dialogue with contemporary artists and thinkers.

Listen to the first episode here

Martine Syms
Ugly Plymouths

Exhibition Walkthrough

6 - 31 October 2020

24 Cork Street W1


Videography: Dominique Croshaw

© Sadie Coles HQ, London


Martine Syms, Grand Calme

Exhibition walkthrough

Martine Syms

Projects 106: Martine Syms
MoMA, New York

Projects 106: Martine Syms is a new exhibition using video and performance to examine representations of blackness and its relationship to narrative, vernacular, feminist thought, and radical traditions. Explore the exhibition with the artist herself in this "How to See" tour.

© The Museum of Modern Art, 2017

Martine Syms

Fact & Trouble
ICA, London

American artist Martine Syms talks about her first UK institutional solo exhibition Fact & Trouble. The exhibition compiles original and found photography alongside images taken by her father, weaving together familial, cultural, and historical legacies. Fact & Trouble demonstrates Syms’s multifarious artistic practice which includes video, performance and writing as well as publishing through her imprint Dominica.

© Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2016

Martine Syms

Made in L.A. 2016: Martine Syms
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

© Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2016