Sungjae Lee: The Hair Shop: Whiteyellowwhite
@ gallery no one
1579 N Milwaukee Ave, Room 303, Chicago, IL 60622
Opening Friday, February 22nd, from 6 PM - 8 PM
On view through Friday, February 22nd
Here is a hairless, gay Asian man who lives in the US. His lack of body hair has led him to observe hairy men, fantasize about them, and develop a hair fetish. He not only dates hairy men but also harvests their hair and uses it to cover his own bare chest (Temporal Chest Hair, 2018). This allows the man to fulfill his desire and become his desired body. With these actions, does he become more masculine by gaining body hair, a reflection of the vigorous production of testosterone?
The exhibition The Hair Shop: whiteyellowhite questions the development of one’s masculinity in conjunction with race/ethnicity and queer desire. Asian men have been regarded as effeminate and sexless in Western society based on racial and social hierarchy. Asian men’s desire can widen the hierarchical gap because of how desire looks up from the bottom. Though it is impossible to entirely escape social constructs, the exhibition investigates how we can alternatively and safely desire without being caught in the racial/ethnic trap or being regulated by the socially constructed norm: masculinity.
Hair can be found in various formats: inside Ziploc bags, on white shirts, and in sculptures. The sculptures are the remnants of the artist’s performance series Fake Muscles, Yellow Hairy Balls, and Untitled (Messy Yellowish). These performances transform material, starting their journey from white clay the artist uses to sculpt muscles onto his own skinny body. The alternative muscles are then reused for the next performance by being deconstructed and mixed with human hair and yellow pigment, representing both queer desire and Asian skin color. Finally, the ball-shaped sculptures get smashed again in order to be transformed as the white clay, the starting point of the journey.
The gallery space will be transformed into a barber/shaving shop during the exhibition. People who want to visit the gallery should make online appointments on this website:
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