Marc Ohrem-Leclef As far apart as the Earth is from the Sky - Suresh and Amit (Punjab) 2017
Zameen Aasman Ka Farq—As far apart as the Earth is from the Sky—contemplates the affection between Indian men: the holding of hands, interlocking of pinkies, or the intimate leaning into one another. This physical touch offers a window into the complexities of friendship, love, sexuality and queerness. Marc Ohrem-Leclef uses photographs and texts to visualize the many forms love takes on for his collaborators, from the open and socially accepted to the unspoken.
Individuals across the gender, class and religious spectrum share how they experience touch, its importance and evolving norms—both expanding and constricting—amid LGBTQ+ identity politics. How do straight, cisgender men hold same-sex affection dear? What does it mean for queer-identifying collaborators?
Many collaborators trust Ohrem-Leclef with their deeply personal histories only because he is an outsider. Often, they bond over a shared search for belonging and community—his own being rooted in his queer, bicultural identity. Seated together in their rooms, in fields, and in parks, many speak of the “love that flows” when they hold a friend’s hand in certain ways. Some, bound by circumstance, are unable to articulate their desire for same-sex love; others, living fluid lives in traditional cultural spaces—usually outside cities—have no need to name their identities.
Zameen archives a profoundly human desire to connect through touch. What is perceived as “queer” or “traditional” remains in flux, set against rapidly-shifting standards and differing gazes. Ultimately, Ohrem-Leclef looks to his collaborators, who construct spaces for themselves, irrespective of labels.
Marc Ohrem-Leclef As far apart as the Earth is from the Sky - A class photo (Karnataka) 2018
Marc Ohrem-Leclef As far apart as the Earth is from the Sky - Imitiyaj and Ravsaheb (Maharashtra) 2018
Marc Ohrem-Leclef (b. 1971, Düsseldorf, Germany) lives in Brooklyn, New York. His work explores themes of identity and belonging, in particular where their mainstream representations perpetuate inequalities. His practice manifests in long-term collaborations, employing documentary and performative modes. A MacDowell fellow, he has received numerous awards and teaches at ICP, among other institutions.