Sunday, November 14, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Asian Women’s Aesthetics in 21st Century Contexts (2)

Using Images of the Self as a Representation of Female Expression

Few art academies in Asia teach “Performance Arts.” However, many female artists use this form of expression. They find they can represent their thoughts by using body language. It neither wastes a lot of physical strength, nor does it require complicated methods/machines in order to create art works.
I Love You, Melati Suryodarmo
Yet live performance is also challenging, as artists need to gain the audience’s immediate response. Nowadays, live performance artists have heightened awareness of “repeatable art”, possible through the form of video. This medium also shares the qualities of one-time creations such as archives and art pieces. In addition, personal computers and digital video cameras enable women to master production and post-production at home, allowing art to bridge the domestic and public spheres. Technology shifts the focus of art from creating “objects” to creating “ideas,” from the painting or sculpture to the body.


Melati Suryodarmo, Indonesia-Germany
Melati Suryodarmo, an Indonesian who now lives in Germany, reflects on the struggle to find her identity in a different culture. She will show 2 works in the biennial, “The Seed” and “I Love You,” the second of which will be performed at exhibition’s opening. “The Seed” originates from Suryodarmo’s live performance. Captured in photographs and video, it reflects her painful childhood memories of Indonesia. The despair and the damage show through her eyes and her body language.

In her live performance of “I Love You”, she tries to collect feelings of love from a long and unstable relationship during her stay in Germany. Both works grapple with the personal impact of cultural conflicts.
Efface, 11 hours video of Bea Camacho
Bea Camacho, the Philippines
11 hours of moving images Efface is acted and filmed by a young Filipino artist called Bea Camacho. Process and time are her central themes. . Her video is in real-time without any breaks. She gradually crochets a white woolly bun into a long white carpet the size of a room. The film ends by showing her body that has drowned and disappeared under the carpet. Private space at once hides her from her surroundings and, defends her from them. Her work represents the denial of traditional values and beliefs around her. Perhaps it shows that she is even denying herself. It is indirect and yet forceful. The video comes with 6 still photographs of the video that assists us to view the entire procedure. 
Goodbye My Asian Eyes, Natalya Dyu
 Natalya Dyu, Korea- Kazakhstan
Natalya Dyu has the appearance of an East Asian woman, as her grandparents moved from Korea to Kazakhstan while Stalin ruled the Soviet Union.  However, her experiences of Russian, Turkic, East Iranian and Tibetan cultures have both shaped and shaken her ethnic identity. "Goodbye, my Asian Eyes" is comprised of 3 videos in one screen. The center screen documents Dyu’s plastic surgery from dark Asian to European blue eyes.  The first and third screens are her performances as green and pink butterflies. The green one represents her appearance before the surgery and the pink one, after.

This is similar to Archana’s work about Indian women changing their skin color in order to be white. However, in Dyu’s case, the change is from the artist’s perspective and not an observer’s. Indian women in Archana’s work aim to be different from their environment, whereas Dyu would like to blend into her environment. Although she lives in both an Asian and European culture, the European look attracts her. The surgery may help her to “fit in” as her idea of being “beautiful” is to have blue eyes.  Her blue eyes can be seen as a symptom of European culture’s impact on how Kazakhstani women define beauty.

Jane Jin Kaisen, Korea-Denmark-USA
dopting Belinda, Jane Jin Kaisen
In contrast to Dyu, Korean artist Jane Jin Kaisen was adopted from Korea and raised in Denmark. She has produced and acted in a morning television series on Danish TV entitled Adopting Belinda and is now based in Los Angeles. Adopting Belinda features a young Korean-American couple determined to create a family by adopting children from different countries and cultures. Kaisen calls this setting a “mock-documentary” about the difficulty of creating and maintaining a “foreign” cultural environment against pressures to assimilate. An adoptee who has herself adopted a child, Kaisen has a rich and complicated perspective on race, family, and society. 

Sudsiri Pui-Ock, Thailand
Solitary Consciousness, Sudsiri Pui-Ock
Combining video installation and performance art, Thai artist Sudsiri Pui-Ock shows what she is interested in, excited or depressed about, through a work entitled “Solitary Consciousness”. She has produced this video while living in Amsterdam for 2 years as an artist in residence. In the video, which serves as a healing or self-meditating process, she compares herself to a piece of dry leaf in the water. She does not know if the leaf rolls itself in the water or is rolled by the water.  There is not right or wrong for her to be passive while absorbing new experiences.

(read more in the next post)

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