[Absence|Presence]

Performance: 28 hours in Vancouver, 2010

 

Chun Hua Catherine Dong pushes a big gallery wall during 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the woman wearing red is watching her

Chun Hua Catherine Dong pushes a giant gallery wall during 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver to make comments about the BC government’s funding cuts to the arts

Chun Hua Catherine Dong is pushing a big gallery wall during 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, there are words on the walls: I feel homeless in your presence, I will be at home in your absence

Chun Hua Catherine Dong pushes a big gallery wall during 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, she questions the relationship between artists and galleries

Chun Hua Catherine Dong is pushing a big gallery wall during 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, there are words on the walls: I feel homeless in your presence, I will be at home in your absence

On the CODElive opening during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, I started to push a 12′x 8′x 42″gallery wall along streets of Granville Island. This movable wall is painted in white with 4 hidden wheels. On the wall, printed so as to be unremarkable except by flash photography, is the title of an exhibition:

I FEEL HOMELESS IN YOUR PRESENCE
I WILL BE AT HOME IN YOUR ABSENCE

This performance is a response to the British Columbia government’s funding cuts to the arts. As a result of massive funding cuts, many galleries have been forced to close, and art is losing its home in B.C. The gallery wall, once a space of opportunity for artists, has had to be moved outside. This performance represents this sense of loss.

This hardship not only results in a tremendous loss to the arts in BC arts, but also raises more questions for artists. Can art survive without walls? Do we artists really need a gallery? The wall sometimes does not facilitate art but acts as an obstacle to divide art and artists. What if we artists try to push the gallery wall to the outside voluntarily, rather than being forced to move out because of politics? What if we artists try to move this obstacle in order to create more space for ourselves, rather than restricting ourselves within its boundaries? No matter whether the wall is forced outside or whether it needs to be pushed by artists ourselves, the performance presents this opposition, confrontation and struggle.

photo credit: Hua Jin