SCREWED is a hybrid visual/performance piece that manifests and explores the intersectionality of the artist’s personal and professional obstacles and disappointments.
On pieces of paper printed with Geishas, the artist scrawls the profession (or character) of an ex that also corresponds to someone in that profession who had hindered the artist; locating common ground when he had been screwed romantically/physically and professionally. After documenting each profession, the Geisha printed paper is screwed into a ball and tossed aside. Each crumpled ball of paper is then picked up, smoothed out and folded into an origami lotus – the lotus being a symbol of rebirth, awakening and purity (as the bud grows in muddy water but rises above it and blooms unstained). Although each origami lotus looks untouched superficially, parts of the scrawled profession would be visible if one were to lift the inner four “petals”.
The act and process of wrestling with the imperfections of the paper (unlike pristine papers typically used in origami practice) is simultaneously a metaphor for the artist’s experience, as well as calling out the privileging and fetish of surface and technical “perfections” in visual art practice. Like OVER TIME | TIME OVER, Stephen Chen repurposes an Asian trope of mere appreciation into critical social commentary.
Conceived & Created by: STEPHEN CHEN | Completed: 02/02/17 (Groundhog Day)