shin-hee chin

 

Artist’s Statement

I constantly try to valorize devalued women’s labor and the women’s body by reversing the negative insinuations associated with female domains and imbuing them with positive qualities. For that purpose, I often utilize needle, thread, and fabric in order to call into question the deep-seated bias that women’s work are trivial, menial, marginal and undesirable.  By incorporating wool, fiber, and string into the sculptural production, I convert the conventional “feminine” activity of needle works into a useful medium for the making of art. Through the strategic use of media that have been traditionally associated with the feminine, I want to show that seemingly ‘menial female work’ can be a source of pleasure and power for women.

 

While being simultaneously inspired both by feminist traditions that emphasize the female reproductive body and the liberating potential of female creativity, and by Christian spirituality that is deeply embedded in my life, I address the complex issues of the female body, creativity, motherhood, feminine identity, and art. In my work, I attempt to carve out what I proudly call feminine territory in which the voices of effaced and silenced women reverberate, and to translate the experiences of women in a way that people of different ethnic backgrounds and cultural experiences can understand and sympathize.

 

On the level of technique and material, I appropriate and valorize craft techniques such as stitching, random wrapping, and binding. The techniques have an important meaning for me both as a compositional device and as an obsessional activity. In experimenting with a variety of “domestic” media such as clothes, threads, and paper, my hands participate in the process of the intricate linking of the irregular pattern of threads that form vein, skin, and scar. In fact, one can see the process through the complexly interwoven and intricately entangled threads covering the work.

 

The process of arbitrary wrapping and stitching, which does not differ much from the variety of tedious and repetitive activities that preoccupy women at home, enables me to understand the dynamic creative and inspirational potential of the seemingly trivial and devalued aspects of women’s labors for female artists. The slow nature of my technique seems to reenact the creative process of birthing. This recalls the gradual forming of the fetus through the intersection of capillary within the belly of the mother or perhaps the silkworm’s patient and continuous spinning leading the creation of its cocoon. Thus, these pieces speak not so much of sorrow, anger, regrets, but rather, of healing, recovering, inner joy attained by/through converting the physical, oppressive condition into the stimulating and dynamic inner resources for own creative life.

 

 

© Shin-hee Chin