fin-xuan lee is a non-binary queer artist and second-generation settler who explores autobiographical foundations as relational tools, ones that may contribute to various creative expressions and that approach healing and acknowledgement processes. They are currently practicing on unceded, unsurrendered Algonquin, Anishinabek territory. They persist through reflecting and working with experiences that may offer growth, learning, and sharing. They are interested in art and art histories because they are inspired to facilitate engagements within various communities.
You See Through ‘Authenticity’ (Sept. – Dec. 2021)
As two Asian-Canadian artists, we are both interested in using rice paper in our work to explore and share personal histories, experiences of oppression, and empowerment. Our collaboration aims to raise questions surrounding these specific themes and materials.
Through collaboration and community focused installations, we invite viewers to confront their assumptions and, ultimately, the dominant narratives and ideologies that uphold harmful attitudes towards non-white individuals. As a material, rice paper echoes the flexibility and malleable forms that can translate into ideas of diversity beyond stereotypical perspectives.
This installation is a participatory extension of our first performance that took place in October 2021. In the performance, viewers were able to see ingredients being rolled up by us and were encouraged to reflect on their impulsive responses to what they were seeing. This process of observing and visually digesting mirrors the act of the automatic authenticity assessment that occurs when viewing individuals. By bringing in different ingredients—some food, some non-food, such as hair, testosterone, make-up—we hoped to disrupt normative assumptions, filling the rice paper with ingredients and decisions of our own making rather than performing a prescribed form of cultural authenticity. This installation includes video documentation of our hands during the performance, as well as an interactive rolling station where participants are invited to roll their own authentic rolls and display them on a silver plate upon a tall plinth. The plate stacked with transparent rolls exhibits self-expressed authenticity within a community.
Images from the installation, You See Through ‘Authenticity’