Sung Chang


I have carried my mother’s scar. Like most women of her generation and even today, she spent the majority of her life surrounded by people who saw her only as a labor source and as a piece of property. She swallowed all her sorrow and kept her voice suppressed inside her so that she would be able to transfer her hopes and dreams onto me. The richness of my mother’s life left me memories that have continually exposed me to social and cultural perspectives on gender. This awareness continues to be my vehicle for the message of my art. My intention is to investigate women and the spaces they fill in society, while at the same time drawing closer to them and the world they share with us. In order to connect the concept of labor with the monotonous routines of daily life, I use labor-intensive artwork. Labor is insignificant and overlooked until accumulated into a greater whole, while our everyday rituals seem trivial at first glance but collectively form a space in which one can meditate on life. My art bridges the two together. Using personal and cultural residue as my materials, I employ repetitive, menial processes in order to produce a mass amounts of items that are outwardly useless but together contribute to a powerful archive. Books I have kept since my arrival from Korea, my own old paintings, and magazines depicting the lifestyle and duties of the ideal housewife are examples of the materials I used. These silent and useless materials, shaped by my personal labor and utilized in an unconventional way, represent me and through me, other women. The message of my art speaks through patterns symbolizing the largely repetitive existence of women as labor sources and the repetitive process by which they complete their work. Each individual piece was created through these processes, domestic ones such as folding, cutting, and ironing. Through the work, abstract narratives unfold, bestowing an identity upon the object and revealing the story behind it. When several of these objects come together as part of an entire picture, each of their stories contributes to the art and deepens our perceptions of it.