Through the Etymology of Wu, 2018-ongoing, curio cabinet and rejoined ceramic cups, dimensions variable


Sourced from Craigslist under the listing title, “Oriental Curio Cabinet,” the depository serves as the embodiment of colonial and Euramerican voyeurism over the other. These cabinets traditionally function to consecrate ethnic relics or souvenirs as evidence of cultural exploration or intrigue. The placement of such a cabinet in a white cube setting exploits that very gesture where the white cube is consuming a microcosmic version of itself. All of the said spaces involve a curatorial process with a specific intent to make objects sacred, valuable, and visible for viewer peruse.

The ceramic pieces were all massed produced overseas and then later excavated from domestic thrift stores, discount shops, flea markets, garage sales, and grocery stores. Through the violent process of intentional deconstruction, the pieces were fragmented so as to disassociate from their traditional forms. Their substructures then become foundational to newly authored superstructures. Although iconographic signifiers remain, the intercultural pastiches can only function through the fusion of orientalized decor and American domestic-kitsch.

This body of work posits a dialogue about hyphenation, cultural exchange or appropriation, foreign fetish, and cultural trade through commodity behavior as a result of globalism. To meditate on my own nuances and sharp inconsistencies with fragmented identities, hybrid heritage, and decentralized (dis)belonging, I will only allow myself to retire this concept after meditating and exhausting a pantheon of 1,000 rejoined ceramic cups.

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Selected works, installation view at the Worth Ryder Art Gallery, Berkeley, CA