Monstrous Beauty (a placeholder for someone without a place), 2023
Installation shots, Photos taken by Christopher Wormald.
"Given that the afterlife of slavery means that black death is the normative condition of civil society, what is the character of the aesthetic in the context of terror? Does death find its antidote in beauty? Do we find a way of regarding death and reckoning with it in beauty or impossible beauty or monstrous beauty?” Christina Sharpe: On Archives
"The tree-woman in Beloved is more than aesthetic congealment. Sethe’s tree is a monument to mortifying pain, but it is also a mobile ornamental structure, realizing the possibility of form in the aftermath of radical unmaking. From the divergence between black flesh and yellow ornament, we have arrived at this convergence: flesh that passes through objecthood needs ornament to get back to itself. The haunting in Beloved is the haunting of the history of racialized flesh, but it is also a history of ornamentalism. For mortified racialized flesh, ornamentalism points us to what it might take to reconceptualize personhood for persons who have been undone, challenging us to ask how to make discernible the peripheral, how to work the edges, how to enhance presence in the face of absence. If feminist scholars have been committed to the flesh in order to undo the taxonomy of gender, then ornamentalism points us toward a consideration of object life that not only refutes but also suspends the taxonomy of the human." Cheng, Anne Anlin. Ornamentalism.
"Is the desire for the Other (Auturi) an apatite or a generosity?" Sharon Ptricia Holland quoting Manuel Levinas. The Erotic Life of Racism.
"The mouth is a doorway into the consuming body… a site of biopolitical intensity in the United States." Kyla Wazana Tompkins, Racial Indigestion: Eating Bodies in the 19th Century
Monstrous Beauty (a placeholder for someone without a place), delves into chinoiserie, a pattern adopted by the Europeans in the 17th and 18th century as an idyllic and exoticized interpretation of Asian people and life. I am interested in its relationship to diasporic distance, belonging, and the consequences of colonial globalization reproduced within domestic spaces. This body of work is preoccupied with interiority and the influences, perceptions, and interpretations one performs in the creation of self – one that exists in the in-between, the liminal.