Patty Chang’s first major solo exhibition in the UK featured works by the artist in which the body acted as a conduit for transformation and communication.
US born artist, Patty Chang’s practice exploited the flatness of video to create illusions and discrepancies between what we think we are seeing and what is really happening. Chang’s work exists between live performance and the possibilities of shifting its meaning in its documented form.
The exhibition featured newly commissioned piece, Garden took inspiration from the theme often prevalent in pre-modern Chinese literature of longing for home and returning to one’s garden after times of chaos, and in old age. Taking her father, an immigrant to the US, as the subject the piece looks at the notion of gardening as a meditative process of transposing memory and personal history into the physical landscape of his garden. Nested within the projection of her father’s tourist footage of China is the artist’s footage of her father in his garden. Both are informed by the desire to connect with and relate to what they imagine is there.
The show also presented two existing works by the artist: In Love (2001) features the artist in a tenuous embrace with her parents to investigate the complex relationship between love, desire, and the bonds and limitations of communicating through the body; Melons (At a Loss) (1998) juxtaposes the verbal narrative of a death ritual with the visually distressing act of cutting off one’s own breast, created by the artist in response to her aunt’s death from breast cancer.
The exhibition preview was held on the 20th October. The exhibition was supported by Arts Council, England, and Sevenoaks Sound & Vision. The Centre held two events associated with the exhibition: 'Inspired by Patty Chang' talk by Margaret Harrison; and a workshop 'Don't Believe the Truth' by Sophia Hao which took inspiration from the works (19th November).