STATEMENT

My practice is an unlearning of assimilation. It contemplates how the physical body is seen in the public sphere of whiteness and privately within itself. I strive to understand in order to dismantle the systems that have normalized subtle and overt hostilities that are inescapable based on the skins we inhabit. I’m learning through living in too many white dominated communities from coal country to wine country that the construct of whiteness is seeped in fraught fragility. Through participant observation as a white-adjacent minoritized body, I’ve witnessed the various ways that anti-Blackness and the white-dominate ethos continue to be prioritized in American culture with the continuation of the capitalist demand for productivity at the expense of Black and Brown bodies.

Creating with processes of craft and documented actions allow for consideration of how ethnic and feminine identity is laboriously performed and endured for the sake of belonging to a hostile state. Working in repetitious processes, I fall into a physical form of meditation in which I trust my body to perform instinctively. Perhaps our gut reactions are the culmination of our ancestral knowledge through their experiences. Much of my work requires a multilayered system of experimenting, scavenging and a regimented routine, a system of invisible labor that supports the Art work. Much like the workers and technologies that make the consumable object. A main difference is the value of western individualism that elevates Art versus the denigration of being a hand in the assembly line.

My work is an intimate performance between my body, object and materials. Process gives me both focus and the space for daydream. I am drawn to materials of infinite potential with set characteristics that reveal themselves the more time spent. I care for and tend to the individual pieces that make up the whole, much like my forebears who tended to their fields of crops. Working methodically gives me order and purpose. Yet, I wonder when we know the cycle of routine becomes a false comfort or vicious habit that no longer nurtures us and could cause harm. In this phase of evolution in conceptualizing my practice, I’m lead to consider the radical opposition to productivity: rest. When did rest become a reward for overworking rather than a daily nourishment of being human and present.

I create from an autobiographical narrative because I can only speak from my conscious experiences and felt feelings. Looking toward the histories of my identifiable markers press me to witness and question the traumas, joys, and the mundane in-between of existing.

© 2021 by Xia Zhang / All rights reserved