DÉMARCHE DE L’ARTISTE
Florence Yee’s interdisciplinary practice of installation, painting, fibres and sculpture relies on a methodology of copying, tracing, restaging and autobiographical remaking. The act of physical reproduction mirrors her interest in cultural reproduction, the ways in which a generation transmits knowledge to the next, and how it has been interrupted in her family. This exploration of “authenticity” and “failure” has prompted her practice to commemorate the objects and experiences of her Cantonese-Canadian/Québécoise diaspora.
Ever since the 17th century, blue and white porcelain vases have been made explicitly for export to European markets because they have been so fetishized as commodities, as well as being popular signifiers of a generic and “exotic” East Asian aesthetic. They are valued for their level of “cultural authenticity” to demonstrate worldliness, wealth, power and knowledge, and yet are mass-produced to cater to the demand. One can thus question the idea of what qualifies this as “fake”: the people who made it, the reason they were made, the materials, etc. The artist also draws a parallel to the alienating idea of living as a diasporic Asian person, who must navigate internal and external expectations of being “real”. This artwork aims to subvert the value of so-called authenticity by rendering a commodity into a kitschy stuffed toy that feels more familiar and comforting for the diaspora, while taking away the trophy-like value of the coveted objects.
Curator : Art Souterrain