curated by Mizuho Yamazaki and Virginia Liu,
with contributions by Rin Aonami and Manami Totsuka

Wong Ka Ying, Ain't No Your Fortune, 2019
  • This information will be updated.
  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • Opening:  TBA
  • Artists:
    Betty Apple
    Dong Jinling
    Nayoung Jeong
    Kaai Ogaya
    Wong Ka Ying
In East Asia, "her body" has been stripped away from "herself." She has been dreamt as tamed and obedient by her own patriarchy and by the "privileged" Western colonizers, including the suppression of her ideas by Western feminist studies, apart from her self-representation and agency. While gender inequality in East Asia is uniquely rooted in each sociocultural background, the gaze exerted upon women, especially their bodies, remains shared in many ways. In this exhibition, Ownness, we would like to shed light on East Asian women claiming the right to their own bodies. We will reveal the experience and empowerment of female bodies in their societies through the lenses of five emerging female artists from Japan, South Korea, Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

Kaai Ogaya (b.1987, Japan) illuminates the consequences of the idealized female appearance suggested by Japanese society. She reveals that this ideal is embedded in female's minds as an instrumental requirement to be a woman in the visually-oriented society. However, there is a gap between nature and the societal ideal of female bodies, which leads females to deny their inherent bodily functions, such as body hair growth, and damage their own bodies by shaving said hair.

Tiffany Jaeyeon Shin (b.1993, South Korea) expresses that the yearn for having glassy white skin promoted by Korean beauty erases the identity of Korean females. Shin attempts to "peel away" this prejudiced idea, caused by the trauma of Japanese colonization and the Korean War, and find their genuine flesh, or racial identity. Her works strive to rehabilitate from cultural colonizations and regain their female identity by seeking what skin, or racial identity, they are truly looking for.

Dong Jinling (b.1986, Mainland China) uses her own body as an experimental field to unveil the systemic exploitation of women. Through the manifestations of control over her own body, she aims to regain female autonomy of self, of motherhood, and of life, from the family-centric, self-sacrificing tradition of China.

Wong Ka Ying (b.1990, Hong Kong) responds to the issues of self-identity and sexuality by radical self-exposure of the female body. Her exaggerated eroticism in order to challenge the traditional concept of female nudity explores how women's bodies are fetishized in and traded as products by mass consumerism and capitalism in Hong Kong, a region where the West and East have crossed for decades.

Betty Apple (b.1986, Taiwan) mocks, questions, and subverts the hegemonic, patriarchal egotism of "good" music by making "bad" noise with kitsch instruments associated with femininity. Utilizing mass-produced objects symbolically intended for female eroticism and consumerism, such as vibrators, wigs, and shopping trolleys, the avant-garde sound artist improvises a chaotic music, a conversation of body and object, to speak to societal impositions on female bodies in post-colonial Taiwan.

By juxtaposing works by artists tackling gender inequality in our own context, this exhibition will show how women across East Asia are fighting hand-in-hand to overcome colonial and patriarchal subjugation and seize bodily control on their terms.

*The text above was submitted to apexart's 2020-21 INT'L Open Call, and rated by over 550 jurors. Any specific artists mentioned are unconfirmed and subject to change.

Original proposal submitted by Mizuho Yamazaki, Virginia Liu, and Rin Aonami
Currently working as a Curatorial Assistant at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Mizuho Yamazaki creates exhibition spaces where spectators encounter the social and cultural realities from other parts of the world. With a special interest in arts and politics in the Middle East and North Africa and trans-physical exhibition platforms, she completed her MA in Museum Studies at New York University, and has taken part in curatorial internships for MoMA PS1 and the Abu Dhabi Project at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, as well as an exhibition design internship at the Tokyo National Museum.

Virginia Liu currently works at the Hong Kong Arts Centre Public Art Division, planning and executing art projects ranging from commissioned public art to community programs. She just finished a half-year professional attachment at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, funded by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, where she worked on Future and the Arts and STARS: Six Contemporary Artists from Japan to the World. From 2020 onward, she is involved in Via North Point (2019-2021), an art project that aims at urban renewal and community building. She is a graduate of the University of Hong Kong with a BA in Art History and an MA in Cultural Studies.

Brochure Images

Betty Apple, Vibrator Love of Sound (聲的跳愛), 2012-21, Performance, Duration variable (still).

Dong Jinling, Dong Jinling (2-1), 2012, Photograph, 39 x 30.7 in.

Nayoung Jeong, Catch or Throw, 2017, Performance, mixed-clay, printed fabric, 70.8 x 66.1 in (fabric print).

Kaai Ogaya, The Stars and Sky, 2018, Embroidery on fabric, embroidery hoops (2), 28 x 3.5 x .5 in and 8.9 x 8.7 x .5 in.

Wong Ka Ying, Ain't No Your Fortune, 2019, Video, photography, installation, Dimensions variable.

apexart’s program supporters past and present include the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Buhl Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Spencer Brownstone, the Kenneth A. Cowin Foundation, Epstein Teicher Philanthropies, The Greenwich Collection Ltd., William Talbott Hillman Foundation/Affirmation Arts Fund, the Fifth Floor Foundation, the Consulate General of Israel in New York, The Puffin Foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and administered by LMCC, funds from NYSCA Electronic Media/Film in Partnership with Wave Farm: Media Arts Assistance Fund, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.