Group Exhibition: Standing Out, the Outstandings

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A Curated Group Exhibition

Sep. 10th - Oct. 10th, 2021


(For immediate release)

Opening Reception: Sep. 10th, 2021, 6 pm - 9 pm

64A Bayard Street, New York, NY, 10013

September 10th – October 10th, 2021

Tue. - Sat. 11 am- 5 pm, Sun. 12 am - 5 pm. 

Curated by Hongzheng Han

Artists: Vincent CY Chen, Ronghui Chen, Kacy Jung, Wednesday Kim, Wai Lau, Xianglong Li, Tianyu Qiu, Siyuan Tan, Fang Yuan and Lu Zhang


LATITUDE Gallery is pleased to present Standing Out, the Outstandings, a group exhibition curated by Hongzheng Han with participating artists Vincent CY Chen, Ronghui Chen, Kacy Jung, Wednesday Kim, Wai Lau, Xianglong Li, Tianyu Qiu, Siyuan Tan, Fang Yuan and Lu Zhang.

Standing Out, the Outstandings explores the social and historical concept of the model minority myth in conjunction with a new generation of Asian artists at a time of uncertainty and violence in America. The term "model minority" was coined by sociologist William Petersen in an article he wrote for The New York Times Magazine entitled "Success story: Japanese American style" in 1966. Petersen's justification for the legitimacy of Asian success in America is assimilationism; in other words: as long as we, the Asians, are beneficial for bolstering and promoting western colonialism and economic imperialism, we are allowed to stay. Unfortunately, under the prescribed model minority myth, Asian people in America are an easy target and the perfect scapegoat for racial conflicts and involuntarily sustaining a racial hierarchy that continues to uphold white supremacy which further divides the unity of the community of color. To break free from this detrimental myth, Standing Out, the Outstandings encourages the Asian community to fearlessly stand up and unapologetically stand out. 

The work on view includes Vincent CY Chen's latest sculpture Vincent (2021). This glorious and monstrous piece is a daring representation and reinterpretation of self. Indicated in its name, Vincent tells the story of a queer Asian immigrant who no longer seeks a sense of belonging and assimilation. Instead, Vincent demands respect by audaciously occupying the gallery space and blatantly embracing the fetishization of the "exotic." Using body horror and sci-fi films as inspiration, Vincent is more than a sculpture; it is an illuminating parasite that oozes seductive desires and shameless vulnerabilities. Similar to Chen's exploration of space fantasy, Siyuan Tan's three-panel painting Sacrifice (2021) investigates the history of colonialism and capitalism in the style of Japanese manga and video games. Coming from 东北, the northeastern part of China, Tan belongs to the Manchu ethnic group who grew up in the residue of Japan's colonization. Healing from the unshakable pain of colonial history, Tan faces new waves of identity crises as an immigrant in America. Sacrifice is a satirical play of the interconnection of identities disguised in a nostalgic interstellar video game. 

Wai Lau's installation, The Melting Armor (2019), examines the process of identity formations. By manipulating and reappropriating cinematic and pop culture imagery, in combination with her personal archives, Lau showcases the intertwined relationship of fiction and history, virtuality and memory. Consistently positioning herself as the center focus of the work, Lau's The Melting Armor declares a sense of sovereignty and indecency. Kacy Jung's installation 21 Grams Grocery Bag (2021) also emphasizes the understanding of self. In one of the four photo-sculptures, the beholder can find Jung's face distorted by the texture of the fabric. Thinking about the objectification of Asian women, 21 Grams Grocery Bag symbolizes strength and amplifies the beauty of fragility. In addition, Jung's work exposes her anxiety of being part of the disappearing middle class and an immigrant in America. Wednesday Kim’s emotional video, Walking on the Thin Ice Part 1: Under the Black Sun (2021) and Walking on the Thin Ice Part 2: Power of Fear (2021), also tells the story of the cruel history of racism and misogyny against Asian women in America. Remembering the horrific terrorism of the Atlanta shooting, Kim positions herself in the lost lives of 6 Asian women. There is no main character in Walking on the Thin Ice.  Instead, there are multiple characters that are slightly different looking from each other. Kim sarcastically plays on the racist stereotype of “all Asian people look alike.” The truth is that none of these Asian women are alike, they are just companions in misfortune: sexualized, demoralized, and eventually victimized.

Fang Yuan’s two abstract paintings, Me and A Spomenik (2021) and Satellite Mirror (2020), investigate a self-detachment from the external environment while maintaining a rebellious posture of exile. Inspired by a trip to Montenegrin and a mirror designed by Eileen Gray, these two paintings possess both a sense of calmness and the vibrancy of movements. Through the mysterious and ambiguous interplay of shapes and lines, Fang’s work reflects unobtainable confidence and the love for freedom. On the contrary, Tianyu Qiu’s video work, Land of Exile (2021), purposefully exhibits and challenges the concept of rigidity and confinement. By extracting Google Earth images, Land of Exile was created using programming software that imitates a satellite bird-eye view of various cities. Qiu located, pixelated, and collected all the satellite images of Chinatowns worldwide to create a surveillance monitor. The mosaic-looking renderings of these Chinatowns are no longer lively and prospering communities; instead, they become cold and dehumanized pixels. Land of Exile represents the unvoiced struggles of Chinese immigrants globally and the gradual disappearance and gentrification of Chinatowns.

Lu Zhang's film essay, How to Boil Time (2019), is an elusive narration that swings between two cultures. An English voice reciting excerpts of Zhang’s dream recordings runs over stills from Chinese TV and clippings of local newspapers. She sourced these awkwardly cropped, pixelated images from her grandfather’s collection. Echoing the incongruities of Surrealist automatism, the contrast of Zhang’s words with her grandfather's Chinese nationalism reveals both a generational gap and a connection that is based on love and nostalgia. Ronghui Chen's VR panoramic video work, Walking with… (2021), is inspired by a poem –– "The Prophet" by the great poet from the East, Kahlil Gibran. During the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic, which was also the peak of anti-Asian hate crimes, Chen was fearful for himself and, at the same time, his pregnant wife. Who knew that walking on the street as an Asian person could become a challenge? Chen utilized a VR panoramic video camera to capture the daily journey between his home and school studio in New Haven. Sometimes walking with a friend, sometimes walking alone, or sometimes walking with his wife, the most commonplace human experience can be somehow the most frightening when race becomes the only determining factor of one's right of existence. How to use "To pull a tooth from a tiger's mouth" in a sentence? (2021) is a video work by Xianglong Li. The video is presented in a 3D model rendering of an online classroom. Li transforms himself into a Chinese teacher. The style of this video suggests fun and the benign, when in fact, it is mixed with violent footage of racist assaults against Asian Americans. Disguised with pop culture references and the aesthetic of naiveté, Li's work is acerbic, revengeful, hopeless, and helpless. 

In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, Standing Out, the Outstandings calls for a continuous fight against systemic racism, police brutality, and white supremacy.

Standing out, the Outstandings has been organized by the LATITUDE Gallery in collaboration with the Asian Creative Foundation, and curated by Hongzheng Han. The exhibition is being presented simultaneously in the virtual world of the Artazion of Asian Creative Foundation and in real life at the Latitude Gallery from September 10th through October 10th, 2021