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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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Chun Hua Catherine Dong leaks rice from her bag while having conversation withe people in a gallery in Vancouver. She stops leaking rice when their conversation is over.

Chun Hua Catherine Dong leaks rice from her bag while having conversation withe people in a gallery in Vancouver. She stops leaking rice when their conversation is over.Chun Hua Catherine Dong leaks rice from her bag while having conversation withe people in a gallery in Vancouver. She stops leaking rice when their conversation is over.Chun Hua Catherine Dong leaks rice from her bag while having conversation withe people in a gallery in Vancouver. She stops leaking rice when their conversation is over.

3 hours at  Nomad Art Gallery, Vancouver, 2010

i carry a bag with rice, walking in a gallery and approaching an audience to have a conversation. when the conversation starts, the rice leaks from my bag. when the conversation is over, the rice stops leaking. And then i move to another audience, the action repeats.

photo credit: 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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hun Hua Catherine Dong licks a white male's whole body inch by inch for three hours on her performance in Vancouver, which refers  Edouard Manet’s painting Olympia hun Hua Catherine Dong licks a white male's whole body inch by inch for three hours on her performance in Vancouver, which refers  Edouard Manet’s painting Olympia hun Hua Catherine Dong licks a white male's whole body inch by inch for three hours on her performance in Vancouver, which refers  Edouard Manet’s painting Olympia hun Hua Catherine Dong licks a white male's whole body inch by inch for three hours on her performance in Vancouver, which refers Edouard Manet’s painting Olympia After-Olympia-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-02hun Hua Catherine Dong licks a white male's whole body inch by inch for three hours on her performance in Vancouver, which refers  Edouard Manet’s painting Olympia 

duration: three hours at Emily Carr University, 2010

This photograph documents a three hour durational performance where the artist cleansed a white male subject’s body with rubbing alcohol before meticulously licking his whole body. The title references Edouard Manet’s infamous painting Olympia (1863) and by extension the history of Western European Art and the tradition of objectifying the female body in paint. The artist comments on power relations as she subverts the original painting’s gendered composition. Dong stands in as an authoritative, medical figure instead of the black female ‘Negress’ archetype in the referenced 19th century painting. In addition, a submissive, languid, white male body replaces the confrontational courtesan that the painting was named after. Dong marks the subject’s body with her saliva, leaving a trace of herself and her dominance over the male figure. The tables are turned, at least temporarily. The licks literally embody language, they claim language and thereby control. Their measured sensuality is empowered and empowering.

photo credit: Hua Jin

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I am 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.

if you think it would be an interesting experience,

please contact me at

artistintheworld@hotmail.com


photo by Bernie Lee

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 eight 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 feel I 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.

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 Chun Hua Catherine Dong writes letters to museums to express her willingness of donating her body to museums' collectionsChun Hua Catherine Dong writes letters to museums to express her willingness of donating her body to museums' collections. the letter includes a picture of her standing on a plinthChun Hua Catherine Dong writes letters to museums to express her willingness of donating her body to museums' collections, she has sent hundreds and hundreds lettersChun Hua Catherine Dong writes letters to museums to express her willingness of donating her body to museums' collections, and she received lots of reject letters

Text about this project will be coming soon

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