Artist Statement

I question the strict normative trends of a society that demands identity transparency to the point of conformity. My work examines the value of human productivity and challenges a culture that demands endless self-improvement without a clear purpose. Creating imagined realms through performance installation, digital/3D formats, painting, and ceramics, I identify utopian ideas, and dystopian aspects of American culture that might not be recognized as such.

In my most recent piece, Blue Salmon (2016-2020), a multi-series artwork portrays the different emotional stages in a salmon’s journey after it has reached sexual maturity. A site-specific ceremonial installation offers to liberate those salmon that cannot return home by providing new settlements and impermanent residences for those fish that had lost the hope of a safe and suitable breeding ground. When sexual maturity is reached, the impossible journey home begins. 

Blue Salmon exists to commemorate all of the salmon who never made it back through countless barriers, because they lacked guidance and hit insurmountable barriers. They serve as a metaphor for any diaspora, who suffer as the borders become less permeable, and institutional structures become more rigid. Few can tell their own story, as many are under constant duress and demonize one another. Many die before they can enter into a relationship or come to know themselves. The state of being lost creates a pervasive feeling of anxiousness and paranoia in the individual who does not belong. As new cycles and revolutions move forward Blue Salmon creates diasporic homes for diasporic struggles.   

Prior to this, I created Q Dictator in Prison (2010-2015), a body of multidisciplinary work that takes the form of video installations and performances, where a fictional dictator and his comrades trash globalized white supremacy. In particular, they focus on the difficulties of postmodernism and its enforced Euro-American educational standards. While much of what they say reveals a kind of cultural imperialism imposed by Anglophones, the cantankerous duo’s aggressive gestures and inebriated Korean profanities often threaten to derail topical discussions. 

Although rage might mar the coherence of activism, it is also surprisingly productive. Not only is it opposed to subordination, but its affective volatility aligns with that of yellow complexities. The pair rightfully argues that their intersectional, localized specificities are often ignored or misinterpreted by institutionalized Western discourses. Therefore, their unbridled, inarticulate aggressions become a paradoxically apt medium through which the unknowability of yellow particularities can be channeled and vocalized without surrendering any more knowledge for neo-colonial co-optation. Although rarely represented, militarized yellow queerness can relish its temporary airtime as a new-fangled stratagem for articulating revolutionary differences.

Bio
TeeJay holds a B.A. from Slade School of Fine Art, UCL London, UK and
a M.F.A from Columbia University in the City of New York. 
TeeJay is currently based in Denver Colorado
as an artist in residence at RedLine Center Contemporary Art Center, and teaching Studio classes at Metropolitan State University in Denver CO.

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Recent Solo shows
  • Reflections, Denver Art Museum, Creative in Residency, CO, USA (2019) 
  • Angry Hotel Propaganda, Weekend Gallery, Seoul, South Korea (2018)
  • QDIP, Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre, Manchester U.K. (2017)
  • Blue Salmon, Art In General New York and CCA Tallinn, Estonia (2016
Recent Group shows
  • Museum of Modern And Contemporary Art in Seoul (2020)
  • Tag, ICA, Philadelphia(2018)
  • Fault-Lines: Earl Earl Lu Gallery, ICA, Singapore(2016)
  • In Response: Unorthodox, Jewish Museum, New York(2016),
  • Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2015 Artist, Nottingham and ICA London, UK(2015).
Residencies
  • Oxbow Residency, Saugatuck, MI (2016).
  • RedLine Center Contemporary Art Center Residency, Denver, CO (2018-20).
  • Denver Art Museum Creative in Residence, Denver, CO (2019). 
 
Juntae TeeJay Hwang