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Posts Tagged ‘intimacy’

Chun Hua Catherine Dong uses her body to play a couple in domestic lives: she wears the husband’s clothing to present his presence. wife is left and husband is right.Absend-Husband-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-04Chun Hua Catherine Dong uses her body to play a couple in domestic lives: she wears the husband’s clothing to present his presence. wife is left and husband is right.Absend-Husband-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-02Absend-Husband-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-05Absend-Husband-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-06

70” x80”, Ink jet prints

Absent Husband is a performance that consists 12 pieces of 70’’ x 40” photographs. Absence is a form of presence. The series of photographs is divided into diptychs acting as mirrors in which the absence of the other is reflected as a form of presence. This work tells stories of failure in romantic relationship through symbolism, gesture, and language. In this work, I use my body to play a couple in domestic lives: I wear the husband’s clothing to present his presence. The wife is on the left, and the husband is on the right. This division also physically enacts the separation of the couple. The body in this work is not only an interface that functions as a communicative vessel, but also a deeply felt expression of subjective reality. This work transcends personal experience and reality. It is an embodiment of a melancholic longing for an unrecoverable past and a memento mori as a constant reminder of the inexorable passage of time.

photo credit: Phoebe Jin

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Chun Hua Catherine Dong's work, Husbands and I installation at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in 2012. She covered all of her photographs with red fabric, viewers has to lift up the curtains and see the photographsChun Hua Catherine Dong's work, Husbands and I installation at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in 2012. She covered all of her photographs with red fabric, viewers has to lift up the curtains and see her husbandsChun Hua Catherine Dong's work, Husbands and I installation, at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in 2012. Chun Hua Catherine Dong also stayed on her bed in the gallery for 60 hours to invite audiences to come to her bed to sleep with her or chatChun Hua Catherine Dong's work, Husbands and I installation, at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in 2012. Chun Hua Catherine Dong also stayed on her bed in the gallery for 60 hours to invite audiences to come to her bed to sleep with her or chatan audience came to Chun Hua Catherine Dong's bed and chatted with her when she stayed on her bed for 60 hours as part of her Husbands and I exhbition at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in 2012Husbands-and-I-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-13Chun Hua Catherine Dong's work, Husbands and I installation, at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in 2012. Chun Hua Catherine Dong covered all of her photographs with red fabric, viewers has to lift up the curtains and see the photographs

performance: 60 hours, May 17-June 2, 2012, in The  Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery

installation: video, digital prints, curtains, photo albums, bed, side tables, lamps and body

during the exhibition, i lay on a bed 60 hours in the gallery, inviting audience to come to my bed to chat and sleep with me.

I started the Husbands and I performance in 2009; I wore my Chinese traditional dress, walking on streets in Vancouver and asking white males to have photo taken with me by suggesting them to be my husband for a minute. I have had photo with 325 men. In September 2010, I advertised myself in various media as “an exotic, compliant and artistic Asian girl, looking for a white husband who would like to take me to his home and live with him for a day as his mail order bride.” I lived with men who responded my advertise a day. This performance ended in June 2011.

I emigrated from China to Canada several years ago. I regard the whole process of immigration as a marriage, and myself is like a mail order bride. I married Canada that I had never seen before, suddenly transforming myself from a Chinese to a Chinese Canadian or Canadian. My identity is not constructed by Canadian history, its culture or its beautiful landscapes, but the white males who are beside me.  The physical encounter between me and the white males actually is an ideological confrontation between me and the Western social and political landscape that I live in but don’t belong to. The process looking for a white man is a process of looking for home. However, unfortunately, the home is temporary and the relationship is ephemeral. Nevertheless, by exploring intimacy with them, I try to not only reconfigure the established centred power that the privileged white males embody, but also question whether the culturally interpreted Chinese female body, both as a foreign subject and object, can be invested and exploited, most importantly, question whether the concept of the borders still exists although physical borderline is crossed.

In an era of globalization and transnational migration, contact between cultures has given rise to pluralized and hybrid cultures. While celebrating and embracing this cultural hybridity, as an Asian Canadian, I have turned my attention to racialized individuals and minority groups, especially Asian women living in North America. Even though the world is constantly changing, the representation of Asian women doesn’t seem to change much in context of Western culture. In fact, the experience of the Asian women as enmeshed, to different degrees, with pre-existing visual representations of Orientalism and stereotyping is still normalized in modern Western culture. This situation results in a state of doubled oppression for Asian women—there is oppression both from within their own cultural communities, and oppression from external expectations relating to women of colour. This double oppression demands a performative cultural expression of racialized people according to both external and internal pressures, often resulting in a metaphorical silencing of the unique individual.

Wearing a Chinese traditional dress and acting as stereotype of an Asian woman in Western fascination might be regarded as self-essentialization, which conveys negative implication. However, this self-essentialization is not a self-generalization or self- generalizing my own Chinese essential attributes, but a self-consciousness of collectivity which is thinking the essence of my groups with awareness of the social relations and my own situation. As a result, it is a strategy. As a strategy, this self-essentialization is a political choice, a choice of deliberately acting out on culture. It is a social performance, a performance that creates a culture of resistance because in doing so the resistances can be recognized.

 

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I-Cheated-on-My-Husband-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-04Chun Hua Catherine Dong repeats "I cheated on my husband once, I think I am going to cheat on him again" in her video performance. Chun Hua Catherine Dong repeats "I cheated on my husband once, I think I am going to cheat on him again" in her video performance. Chun Hua Catherine Dong repeats "I cheated on my husband once, I think I am going to cheat on him again" in her video performance.

Chun Hua Catherine Dong repeats “I cheated on my husband once, I think I am going to cheat on him again” in her video performance.

 

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Pink Vagina

Chun Hua Catherine Dong paints Access Gallery to pink and invites viewers to paint the gallery back to white in VancouverChun Hua Catherine Dong paints Access Gallery to pink and invites viewers to paint the gallery back to white in VancouverChun Hua Catherine Dong paints Access Gallery to pink and invites viewers to paint the gallery back to white in VancouverPink-Vagina-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-02jpgChun Hua Catherine Dong paints Access Gallery to pink and invites viewers to paint the gallery back to white in Vancouver. This man is write something on the wallChun Hua Catherine Dong paints Access Gallery to pink and invites viewers to paint the gallery back to white in Vancouver. This woman is painting the wall to whiteChun Hua Catherine Dong paints Access Gallery to pink and invites viewers to paint the gallery back to white in Vancouver

duration: 3 hours at  Access Gallery

Chun Hua Catherine Dong paints Access Gallery to pink and invites viewers to paint the gallery back to white in Vancouver.

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Chun Hua Catherine Dong demonstrated how to clean vagina with read-made and home-made tools, and invited audiences to clean her vagina in VancoouverChun Hua Catherine Dong demonstrated how to clean vagina with read-made and home-made tools, and invited audiences to clean her vagina in VancoouverChun Hua Catherine Dong demonstrated how to clean vagina with read-made and home-made tools, and invited audiences to clean her vagina in VancoouverChun Hua Catherine Dong demonstrated how to clean vagina with read-made and home-made tools, and invited audiences to clean her vagina in VancoouverCleaning-Interior-Scroll-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-11

45minutes at Yactac, Vancouver, 2010

i set a workshop space at Yactac. i sit on a table,  demonstrating how to clean vagina walls with ready-made and home-made tools, and then invite audiences to come to clean my vagina walls.

photo credit: Janice Cheung and Bitshere

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Chun Hua Catherine Dong invitred audiences to shoot her naked body with riceChun Hua Catherine Dong invited audiences to shoot her naked body with riceChun Hua Catherine Dong invitred audiences to shoot her naked body with riceChun Hua Catherine Dong invited audiences to shoot her naked body with riceChun Hua Catherine Dong invited audiences to shoot her naked body with rice

performed at SPREAD openning at Chapel Arts, June 3, 2011

duration: one and half an hour

photo by Chad Durnford

I stand against a white wall in a gallery space. There are two bags of rice with a description on the floor right in front of me. Audiences are encouraged to shoot my naked body with rice outside of yellow tape. This action will be repeated until the rice is gone.

After living inCanada for eight year, I realized that there is urgency for me to renew my lost tradition and culture. In the early 2010, I started to use rice to create a series of performances to explore oppositions as manifestations of fundamental existential concern in Chinese philosophy. “The Invalid Testimony” is the fifth one in the rice performance series. This series is not only a ritual meditation, but also an opening conversation, examining relationships between me and the place I live, between what I have lost and what I have gained as a racial minority. However, in “The Invalid Testimony,” I turn the ritual to a battle. The rice that has nurtured me in my whole life becomes a weapon to against myself.  It seems that the only way I regain what I have lost is through surrender.

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Chun Hua Catherine Dong shouted at audiences at Concourse Gallery in Vancouver for some money to buy a bed. She is looking for a bed for her husbands.Chun Hua Catherine Dong shouted at audiences at Concourse Gallery in Vancouver for some money to buy a bed. She is looking for a bed for her husbands.Chun Hua Catherine Dong shouted at audiences at Concourse Gallery in Vancouver for some money to buy a bed. She is looking for a bed for her husbands.Chun Hua Catherine Dong shouted at audiences at Concourse Gallery in Vancouver for some money to buy a bed. She is looking for a bed for her husbands.

 56 hours at  Concourse Gallery from May 6-20, 2011

I filled a wall space with printed text: MY HUSBANDS AND I NEED A SPACE TO LIE. I stood still in front of this wall everyday for 14 days, each day for 4 hours, holding a paper with written words: LOOKING FOR A BED. When audience walked into gallery, I shout at them as loud as  I could with very firm and angry tone: HEY! CAN I HAVE SOME CHANGE? Audiences were welcome to drop some money to a hat in front me. There about 42 people gave me some changes, total income is $122.65.

It is a protest performance addressing the fact that Emily Carr University of Art & Design rejected to exhibit my work, “Husbands and I,” at my Graduate Show in 2011. I approached the Graduate Committee couple of time to discuss it, the answer was there was no space to show such a work.  Finally,  the committee assigned me a place where it was impossible to install the work. As a result, I decided not show ” Husbands and I” Installation,  but this protest performance.

photo credit: Chad Darnford

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