Date of Submission

Spring 2017

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Studio Arts

Project Advisor 1

Ellen Driscoll

Project Advisor 2

Jeffrey Gibson

Abstract/Artist's Statement


by Tinghua Huang

History/Observation of Life/Rebellion/Challenge/ Time/(without)Intention

In my exhibition, I have photos, bags, garments, the FIT IN room, and a clock with a second display. I will explain my points for choosing to put them in my show, and it is up to you, the viewers, to take it, expand it, or not. I believe there is never a final answer to art, as long as humans have their own ability to think.

I made the choice of putting the photos in my show to convey a straightforward sense of my personal background: where I am from, where I grew up before I moved to Hubei with my parents, why I use bamboo, why I hung them in the show, and so on. After I became a “visitor” to my hometown, the subtle relationship of familiar and unfamiliar has brought me a lot of memories and curiosities toward this homeland. With the general impression of black and white photos as an old form and color photos as a modern form, I installed them into diptych in order to put the different aesthetic aspects of each together. With the different impressions in the viewer’s mind, I wonder how they would “buy” it. Would one judge the black and white photos are from an old time? However, in reality they were taken over the same period of time (winter, 2017). That doesn't mean that the person is wrong, because when each moment is new, it becomes old next second.

I made the choice of remaking my adult dress and my childhood garments because I am attached to the object that I wear. I often have the experience of having clothes that I really like but will not wear as much as the other ones, because I want to protect/save it. The clothes are the bridge that connects me with my histories/memories. How much can I save, represent, or connect with a history/memory? By recapturing and reentering my history/memory though remaking the black adult dress and the green childhood garment, the anxiety of losing “the only” becomes less. In my opinion, capturing the sense of a “real/vivid history” is not easy. In a museum, valuable objects are presented in a way that viewers can only see through the glass, or from behind a fence. To exaggerate/capture the feeling of the cold and lifeless display, I presented the original pieces, “my only objects,” deformed inside transparent bags.

I made the choice of using the tote bag as my canvas and “painting” my thoughts on it because it is as simple as what I have observed in my daily life. This observation is based on the background of growing up in China and what I have seen around the world. In today’s consumer culture, people carrying different bags has become symbolic, in which the bag can represent one’s social status. That’s why my eyes are “trained” to be able to focus on these details. I like the humbleness of the tote bag. No matter who it is—students, professors, people

in the museum, fashionable or not fashionable, rich or poor—everyone carries the tote bag. This made me decide to take its essence as a canvas. I have them in a consistent size because, first, I believe the bags’ ordinary, standard and consumer form should not be an obstacle for me to put them on artistic display. Second, I believe that I can “dance in shackles.” This is a saying from when I was in the school in China, our teacher usually told us that writing an essay with a given title is just like dancing while wearing shackles.

I made the choice of including 60s Dongbei floral-style fabrics and white-blue-red patterned fabric. These fabrics were very popular in China overall, starting from the1960s, and now are related with rural, country, and low-class working backgrounds. Without myself being involved in that part of the history, I find it is interesting to make a connection to it by applying the fabrics into my art. As a member of the younger generation, I want to take away the biases associated with them and provide another platform for them to be presented.

I made choice of the plastic transparent material because the honesty of the material allows viewers to see what is inside the bag and the sewing pattern that I used. Based on this feature, one can see the mistakes and the process that I used when I made this object. The plastic material offered me the opportunity to be able to make something personal to be exposed to the public, to reveal the flaws and to show it is not always as perfect as what people see on the surface.

I made a choice of including the FIT IN room because although the exhibition is about my personal history, I think people can find their own track by seeing through my history, my relationship with this world and environment that I grew up in. In some way, they can find their own connection to the world and environment that they grew up in.

I made a choice to display the show as store form. First of all, it is the format and structure of the store that I felt could fit all my works, as easy as borrowing a store’s display function. I also liked to make it a store to question today’s consumer culture and broad way of understanding and classifying what art is. I think I should be not intimated that because it looks like a store, what it holds will be neglected as art; after all, I displayed it in the gallery space. In the end, the tags, so-called “time tag” instead of “price tag”, were included. People visited to consume my time and labor. Well, at same time, I also consume the time that you spend here.

The meaning of everything is open to everyone. Above are the points of my own view. By making the work intentionally or unintentionally at the same time, these are the things I created openly for viewers to criticize, to love, to dislike, to question, to doubt, to be emotional, to fit in themselves and so on.

Sleepless night, Think about there, Think about there.

Why am I here, How did I make it here,

I must miss there, what has made me so sleepless.

The world I live in, the world you live in, I go to yours, you come to mine.

What happened? It is like a dream. I am so naked, you seeing through me,

It is for you, and me. , Do I know you? But welcome to my history.

(I) Rethink, remake, rethink and remake. ( ) Trying to save, save and save... ......

Do I have to listen, to you, myself, who, where, The new can never be the new,

The old is forever or never the old. It is never black or white, or left or right.

There are beauties and collisions in the fluid between.

04.23.2017 The U.S. 2017 4 23

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