Patty Chang: Solo
21 October – 23 December 2005
Continuously toying with the idea that ‘seeing is believing’ Patty Chang’s video work plays with integrity and unreliability. Never conventional, Patty came to explore video’s ability to create illusion through her work at a cyber-sex company in New York, she exploits the flatness of video to make the audience, at first encounter, see and believe that something other than what is actually going on is happening.
Whilst her initial works were primarily performance based and informed by the endurance art of Chris Burden, Carolee Schneeman, the self-referential work of Cindy Sherman and Ana Mendieta she increasingly moved into working with video and photography as well as using actors. Her work exists between live performance and its documentation.
For this, her first major solo exhibition in UK, Patty is producing a specifically commissioned work in which she attempts to travel across US on a crop of independent buses which run from Chinatown to Chinatown as an alternative to the dominant system, namely Greyhound buses, just as Chinatown functions in US as a self-reliant community. Her aim is ‘attempt to bridge the gap, not necessarily to succeed’.
Alongside this new commission she will be presenting several of her key works, including In Love, a piece in the Guggenheim collection, which at first glance appears to be Patty is kissing her parents. The piece, which is in reality her passing an onion mouth-to-mouth to and from her parents, sharing this ‘awful yet exquisitely touching act’ is poised between comfort and discomfort. We are simultaneously moved by the physical endurance of eating a raw onion and the unease at seeing such intimacy between parent and child. Gradually it becomes apparent that the video is running in reverse time, the onion is reconstituted and the tears caused by the onion’s pungency slowly disappear.