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Archive for August, 2013

“State of Grace” consists of 15 pieces of performance-based photographs that examines the visual culture of shame in relation to the body, subjects and power in contemporary art. In summer in 2013, I revisited China and walked three days in the village where I was born to seek out shadows and conners to conceal myself.

In this work, I literally take the meaning of the word “ shame, ” “ to hide,” to position my body in shadows. It is like playing Hide-and-Seek. However, different from the original game, the player in this work plays both hider and seeker: to hide in order to cover her shame, to seek in order to find origin of her shame. In fact, the player has no intention to be found by the others, but to find the self. By reversing the figure-ground relationship, I bring the past into the present, embracing the shadow of shame, and reconciling with the past. The body in this work is not only a deeply felt expression of subjective reality that I use to confront with the past, but also a site of resistance, deconstructing the presence of shame with its nakedness, stillness, and unapologetic quality.

Over the past two years, I have been creating a series of works related to shame that integrates performance, photography, video, and installation. My focus is exploring the visual culture of shame associated with vulnerability in its personal and socio-political dimensions, deconstructing the experience of shame through gestures, movements and audience participation. In my practice, I consider feminism, globalization and psychoanalysis, positioning shame as a feminist strategy of resistance—an ethical practice that seeks altered states of consciousness that possibly leads to restore dignity and humanity.

photo credit: Qu Chang

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Chun Hua Catherine Dong wear a military suit and red underwear, kneeling on a washboard and keeping straight and still as long as she can in Venice Biennale in 2013Chun Hua Catherine Dong wear a military suit and red underwear, kneeling on a washboard and keeping straight and still as long as she can in Venice Biennale in 2013Chun Hua Catherine Dong wear a military suit and red underwear, kneeling on a washboard and keeping straight and still as long as she can in Venice Biennale in 2013Chun Hua Catherine Dong wear a military suit and red underwear, kneeling on a washboard and keeping straight and still as long as she can in Venice Biennale in 2013Chun Hua Catherine Dong wear a military suit and red underwear, kneeling on a washboard and keeping straight and still as long as she can in Venice Biennale in 2013Chun Hua Catherine Dong wear a military suit and red underwear, kneeling on a washboard and keeping straight and still as long as she can in Venice Biennale in 20133 days at Infr’ Action Venezia Performance Festival,  Venice, May 28- June 1, 2013

I wear a military suit and a red underwear, kneeling on a washboard and keeping straight and still as long as I can. This performance explores vulnerability in ritualistic humiliation in performance through reconfiguring historical iconic image of the Red Guard in the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

The Chinese Cultural Revolution is a social-political movement that took place in the China from 1966 to 1976. The Red Guard is a specific group of high school and university students, formed under the Chinese Communist Party, who dedicated themselves to the wheel of the Revolution. They abandoned their studies and schools, marched across China in a campaign to eradicate the “ Four Olds” of society: the old ideas, cultures, manners, and customs. However, these attacks on culture quickly descended into attacks on people. These young revolutionary rebels caused havoc, resulting in great destruction and considerable loss of life. In some degree, they were victims and murders at the same time.

It is tragedy that neither the government nor Red Guards apologize to the victims in the Revolution. It seems that it was a period that many would prefer to forget. Maybe the only way for China to recover its humanity is to re-examine the Cultural Revolution and the Red Guard phenomenon. In my performance, the humiliation is used as a method of interrogation to seek altered states of consciousness that probably leads to salvation. It aims to add a voice in this re-examination of history within a performance art context that possibly opens more questions and discussions, most importantly, to seek justice and justification.

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