For his exhibition I never asked to be this sad and sexy Joseph Kai looks at the effect of anxiety, artificial substances and the internet on the queer body. Joseph examines these transformations, both imaginary and real, slow, visible or felt, by focusing on various details: hair, articulation, smell, shape, skin, and sweat. His drawings question the ways in which these mutations can be a tool to connect to other people, or even become armours and shields.
Looking to embody healing, both personal and collective, he searches for inspiration in archival pictures, mythological figures, Instagram filters, memes and zines, looking for representations of mutating bodies, ones that are labelled as non-conforming. Joseph investigates zones of relatedness and kinship, ones that are familiar and safe through visual representations of friendship, security and pleasure.
Marginalisation, sexuality, and gender are recurrent themes in Joseph Kai’s illustrations and comics. In 2021, he published L’Intranquille, his first graphic novel with Casterman. The story draws on the anxious behaviour, sexual desires, and dreams of a gay character living in Lebanon, as the country enters a long and dark time. In parallel, since 2009, Joseph has published several collective and individual books with the Lebanese collective Samandal Comics. He has also participated in numerous festivals and exhibitions in Angoulême, Beirut, Berlin, Brussels, and Paris, which is where he currently lives.
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