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Catherine Dong: State of Grace

Opening August 6, 2015 7:30-10pm

“State of Grace” is part of Chun Hua Dong’s research about shame. It consists of 15 pieces of performance-based photographs.  After eleven years of living abroad, Dong re-visited a village in China where she was born. Dong walked three days in the village to seek out shadows and corners in which to conceal herself, and she stood there still as long as she could.

In this work, Dong literally takes the meaning of the word “ shame, ” “ to hide,” to position her body in shadows. It is like playing Hide-and-Seek. However, different from the original game, the player in this work plays both hider and seeker: to hide in order to cover her shame, to seek in order to find origin of her shame. In fact, the player has no intention to be found by the others, but intends to find the self. By reversing the figure-ground relationship, Dong brings the past into the present, embracing the shadow of shame, and reconciling with the past to heal childhood trauma. The body in this work is not only a deeply felt expression of subjective reality that she uses to confront with the past, but also a site of resistance, deconstructing the presence of shame with its nakedness, stillness, and unapologetic quality.

Image credit: Catherine Dong –The State of Grace – 2013

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