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  • A Day Off from Dementia
  • Andrea Chung (bio)

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Untitled (Dessage), 2008.

Photo cut out, collage installation.

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My work deals with the presence of the stage and the absence of the actors, whom I cut out of the pictures that bind them to a history written by those who held the pen while the actors held their cutlasses. My work considers history to be a performance and it considers Caribbean history to be doubly so.

In the Caribbean, the past is a commodity, and invitations to return to the colonial ideal are never buried very deeply in the subtext of tourism marketing materials. The past feeds the present, of course, but in the Caribbean, it lives in the present as well. I examine the ways the sublime becomes real. I am interested in the Caribbean that is—and has been—sold through picturesque fantasy and ostensibly candid photographic documentation, and this Caribbean’s relationship to the Caribbean that was created in response to that imagery and in some ways in justification of it.

I look at the residue of colonial machinery that took people and crops from faraway locales as inputs, and look at a landscape staged with trees and fruit from India and Tahiti, people from Africa and Asia, and beaches from the imaginations of those who ordered them cleared so expertly that they became “native.” And not only native, they become “real” and “historical” and the basis for memories because they were recorded as such.

In cutting figures out of settings, I create absences, but equally important are the artifacts left behind. I find that, unmanipulated, the images I use are accepted as representational. They match the way the Caribbean is remembered. When I give the figures a well-earned holiday, it puts the setting on naked display and forces the viewer to confront the circumstances from which the subject has taken a temporary leave of absence.

If memories implanted by photographs cannot be trusted, then what can we do with those memories? I am interested in the tension between the way it was, the way it really was, and the way it is. With the iconic imagery that I appropriate, I invite the viewers to reexamine their relationships with this imagery and to challenge their own memories of “the way things used to be.” [End Page 136]

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Untitled (Royal Cut), 2008.

Photo cut out, 17 x 14 in.

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Come Back to Jamaica, 2009.

Still image from stop animation, 1:11 min.

[End Page 138]

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’im Hole ’im Cahner, 2008.

Photo cut out, 24 x 17 in. (1 of an edition of 5).

[End Page 139]

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All Fruits Ripe, 2008.

Photo cut out, 15½ x 11½ in.

[End Page 140]

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Daylight Cum an’ Mi Waan Guh Home, 2008.

Photo cut out, 13½ x 15 in. (2 of an edition of 5).

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Dexter offers a whole new definition of sublime, 2008.

Photo cut out, 15¾ x 13 in. (1 of an edition of 5).

[End Page 142]

Andrea Chung

Andrea Chung is a multimedia artist. She holds a bachelor of fine arts from Parsons School of Design in New York and a master of fine arts from the Mount Royal School of Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Her work has been shown in the exhibition “NEXT” at Art Chicago and in “Off Color,” curated by Hank Willis Thomas and Kalia Brooks, at Rush Arts Gallery in New York, as well as at Conner Contemporary, Washington DC; the Arlington Arts Center, Virginia; the Sonya Hayes Stone Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and the Gateway Gallery, Maryland Institute College of Art. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture artist residency in 2008 and is a recipient of a 2008–2009 Fulbright scholarship to Mauritius.



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