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Object Project

Photos by Jeff McLance

Object Project is an arm of our ongoing and ever-evolving Carla portrait series that began in issue 9 and will conclude (for now) with this issue. The project has shifted focus from portraits of artists themselves to instead zoom in to examine the objects that live in the much-mythologized artist studio. Using the “chain-letter” format, we chose Rebecca Morris to begin this year-long project, and each artist then chose the one that followed, forming an organic networked chain. Tasked with a studio visit, the artists have gone on scavenger hunts in each other’s spaces, hoping to uncover an object that speaks to them. The goal is to discover something idiosyncratic, objects which, by proxy, provide a tangential portrait of each artist included.

 

EJ Hill on Suné Woods

Photo: Jeff McLane.

For Us, there has always been a particular kind of urgency in regard to the documentation, preservation, and sharing of Our own narratives. Historically, Our lines have been muted, erased, and severed—or perhaps, most violently, drawn for Us.

I am reminded here of Kerry James Marshall’s The Art of Hanging Pictures (2003), an installation of photographs evocative of Our domestic vernacular aesthetic—Our everywall—which head nods to the importance of elevating Our mothers, sons, aunties, grandbabies, goddaughters, and play-cousins to the status of capital-a art. For Our presence is not simply a matter of natural circumstance, but rather an active, intentional, and exceptionally loving pursuit of posterity.

 

Suné Woods on Michelle Dizon

Photo: Jeff McLane.

An air pocket below the weight of my boot dares me to proceed. It’s resilient, I find. Packaging tape, the fixer, will outlive all relationships.

In Perpetual Peace Michelle talks about material passages. A Longevity Colour Slide is perched on the tray in her studio awaiting the rigor of her sentient intellect. Twins chatter with their movement above. We catch up.

 

Michelle Dizon on Yong Soon Min

Photo: Jeff McLane.

A loquat tree, bought from Yamaguchi Bonsai Nursery in West LA’s Little Osaka, sits on the stepped patio behind Yong Soon Min’s new home in Montecito Heights.

Yong Soon calls it her “Bandung Tree” after the 1955 conference of newly independent Asian and African States in Bandung, Indonesia. This loquat tree approximates a tree that Yong Soon had used in 1991 for her installation entitled deCOLONIZATION. Bare branches hold a series of small gourds, filled with rice, spiral to the floor. A broken piece of glass balances atop the tree’s fragile branches. The glass reads, “My gourd is heavy with stars,” from a poem by Aimé Cesaire.

Twenty-six years after deCOLONIZATION, Yong Soon recreates the work with black and white tumbleweed atop a word play that not only links Franz Fanon, W.E.B. Du Bois, and James Baldwin, but expands Bandung and its Afro-Asian anticolonial perspective to explore the performativity of race across difference:

BLACK SKIN BLACK MASKS

DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS

BLACK SKIN WHITE MASKS

DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS

BLACK SKIN WHITE SKIN

DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS

BLACK SKIN BLACK MASKS

DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS

BLACK SKIN WHITE MASKS

DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS

BLACK SKIN WHITE SKIN

DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS

BLACK MASKS WHITE SKIN

DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS

BLACK MASKS WHITE MASKS

DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS

WHITE SKIN BLACK MASKS

DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS

WHITE SKIN BLACK SKIN

DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS

WHITE MASKS BLACK SKIN

DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS

WHITE MASKS BLACK MASKS

DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS…

Now, in Yong Soon’s back patio, the Bandung Tree, stripped of its gourds and sign, is cradled by the stars. It no longer has to wait. It no longer has a mask. It is a tree and its place to root has arrived.

 

Originally published in Carla issue 12.