Tommy Kha


I’m Only Here to Leave

October 4–28, 2018

Artist talk: Thursday, October 4, 5:00 PM

“Through the framework of the self-portrait, I constantly navigate between self and otherness in my photography. Themes of likeness and representation are at the forefront of my picture making. I shift between comedy and tragedy, familiarity and foreignness, performer and camera operator.”

In I’m Only Here to Leave, Tommy Kha amplifies the performative and iterative nature of self-representation through his uncanny photographs and video installation that creatively engage others and his surroundings. The artist re-photographs cardboard cutouts of himself in various environments and creates “masks” of his own likeness to cover the faces of the people he photographs. Kha’s self-portraits, which tend to look like simple collages or crude Photoshop manipulations, draw attention to the fact that something—the artist’s body—is out of place. He notes that by superimposing his face onto those who embody the things he desires to emphasize about himself, he is attempting to become “more queer, more Asian, more Southern.”

Tommy Kha is a photographer based between Brooklyn, New York and his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. He holds an MFA in Photography from Yale University and he is a recipient of a 2017 En Foco Photography Fellowship. Kha also received the Jessie and Dolph Smith Emeritus Award and was named a Magenta Foundation Flash Forward emerging photographer. He has been the artist-in-residence at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, Light Work, Fountainhead, and Baxter Street at the Camera Club of New York. In December 2015 Kha published his first monograph, A Real Imitation, through Aint-Bad and his work was featured on the cover of Vice Magazine’s 2017 Photography Issue. He occasionally performs, writes, and appears in some films, including Laurie Simmons’ feature, My Art.

2018Blue SkyTommy Kha