Cross-Strait Relations

When 27 Sep 2013 - 15 Dec 2013
Where The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery Parsons The New School for Design
2 West 13th Street
New York, NY
United States

Still from Jun Yang’s video installation Phantom Island (2008-2009)

September 27 – December 15 2013

Opening reception: Thursday, September 26, 6-8pm

Press Release:

In Jun Yang’s Phantom Island, a bright green artificial island in the shape of Taiwan is transported through a city, then towed and released in the East China Sea, floating away. In the short film, we see the island pass unnoticed through crowded streets, seeming at once totally at home and jarringly out of place. This idea of being both within and apart from something is central to “兩岸關係” | “Cross-Strait Relations” | “两岸关系,”the fall exhibition at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School for Design. The exhibition is on view September 27 through December 15, with an opening reception on September 26 from 6-8 pm.

“The diverse range of works in this show—videos, photographs, installations, sound art, and performance—explore the pluralism of Chinese identity,” said curator Arthur Ou, an artist and assistant professor of Photography at Parsons The New School for Design. “By reexamining that identity, both geographically and culturally, these works cast the term ‘cross-strait relations,’ a commonly used phrase that points to the fraught relationship between China and Taiwan, in a new light.”

As mobility has increased between various Chinese regions – Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and other sites of the diaspora – the polarization inherent in that term is increasingly transcended by other political and cultural experiences. This exhibition brings together a group of artists who embrace that itinerant sensibility, responding to their various artistic bases, and whose work takes up the complexities of movement and identities. Two powerful re-enactments reflect the psychological formation of new subjects: Ming Wong re-imagines the 1974 film Chinatown by playing all of the main roles himself and Chen Chieh-jen takes his own U.S. visa interview as a point of departure for staging the drama of anticipation and supplication that such encounters entail. Cao Fei’s slyly playful photographs in her PostGarden series transplant popular BBC cartoon characters into a landscape of thrill and mystery.

“Not only do these works shatter monolithic conceptions of being Chinese, they also explore transformation rather than migration as a global condition,” said Radhika Subramaniam, chief curator of the SJDC. “We are reminded that the slim straits that separate us are also spaces of translation and radical re-invention, all issues familiar to the life of New York too.” Other works featured in the show are by Heman Chong, Lee Kit, Michael Lin, Charwei Tsai, Hong-kai Wang, and Hu Yun. A site-specific window installation by Lin will contribute to the drama of the gallery’s frontage and filter street views.

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