This exhibition features the artist’s newest body of work completed over the past year and a half. Chang carves miniature versions of her bedroom furniture and other personal belongings out of alabaster. Each object is scaled to replicate the weight of the original.
For example, Chang carves two iterations of a single plastic set of drawers: a small version corresponding to the empty state of the drawers (6.18 lbs); and a larger version, as it is when filled with clothes (18 lbs). By using weight as a metric, Chang eschews a unified scale–a wooden step stool is nearly life-sized, while a full-size foam mattress is reduced to the size of a large cutting board.
When I think of this work, I think of the phrase ‘no table with a horse thigh,’ remembering an evening in my friend J’s apartment. It was filled with good people, good wine, and good conversation but I felt sad.
I noticed that J’s furniture was heavy, built with solid materials, and topped with ornamental objects, for example the oak table with strong legs that looks like horse legs. The heaviness of the furniture carried a sense of stability. I didn’t think they would be moving anytime soon. They wouldn’t have to worry about moving trucks, fourth floor walk-ups, or security deposits. My bedroom was small, in a shared apartment, and filled with lightweight, easily disassembled multi-functional objects (a collection refined through years of moving every few months). In this euphoric, bacchanal moment with loved ones, I felt homesick, hopeless–as if I’d be living a transitory, IKEA-furnished life forever.
A month later, I started carving alabaster replicas of my furniture.
The slow and meticulous process of carving each object from alabaster allows Chang to grapple with instability: between locations, between homes, between scales. In the past six years, Chang relocated to America and moved eleven times within New York. As a result, she has become carefully attuned to the movability of her possessions, and of her own body in migration. Chang’s choice of subjects reveal a state of impermanence, while the painstaking process of stone-carving lends stability. Temporary bargain-store plastic drawers for clothes, apartment keys from various sublets on a single carabiner, and a mattress on the floor are imbued with the slow sense of time characteristic of the ancient art form.
This is Chang Sujungs US debut exhibition.