MIYAKO YOSHINAGA is pleased to present I Can’t Sleep: Homage to a Uyghur Homeland, an installation of large format photographs by Lisa Ross, from January 17 – February 23, 2019. This is Ross’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. The opening reception will be held Thursday, January 17, 6-8PM, where the New York-based artist will be present. Gallery hours are from Tuesday through Saturday 11AM-6PM.
Women and children – posturing, gazing, playing on bed frames – become “coincidental subjects,” their vivid garments sharply accentuated against the muted earth tones of the vast Taklamakan Desert. This far west region of China (Xinjiang), home to the Uyghur people, is a place Lisa Ross has imaged and imagined for over 15 years. Recently, the Chinese state has amplified its efforts to forcibly assimilate minority populations, imbuing the artist with a sense of urgency to display these pictures.
Behind the photographs, Ross has created a printed backdrop with monochromatic imagery of close friend and renowned anthropologist Rahile Dawut, whose recent disappearance speaks to an increasingly precarious existence. Uyghur culture is often exoticized by the Chinese state for their vibrant oasis-centered lifestyle. Ross’s installation juxtaposes these bed-framed portraits with the shadow of her friend, simultaneously evoking the freedom of sleeping under the stars and that of muted suffocation. As a Uyghur commentator writes, “In this exhibition, the artist presented herself with a challenge: to reflect atrocity by narrating a peaceful everyday existence. The contrasting but supplemental dynamics between the colorless and colorful is a creative process of re-interpreting and communicating these images at a time of desperation.”
This exhibition will feature several innovative collateral programs with Lisa Ross and collaborative partner Mukaddas Mijit, a Uyghur dancer, filmmaker, and anthropologist.
Discussion with Lisa Ross and Mukaddas Mijit
Sunday, January 13, 4:00-5:30PM, at Asia Art Archive in America, 43 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Performative Intervention by Mukaddas Mijit
Thursday, January 17 – Saturday, January 19, on the hour (11AM-6PM) at the gallery
This work will be developed during a residency at The Watermill Center – a laboratory for performance.
I Can’t Sleep: Homage to a Uyghur Homeland includes accompanying texts by an anonymous contributor and Beth Citron, Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art at the Rubin Museum of Art. Both texts are available upon request. The collateral programs are supported by Asian Cultural Council, Asia Art Archive in America, and The Watermill Center – a laboratory for performance.
Lisa Ross is a New York-based artist. She received an MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University. She has exhibited in the U.S., Europe, and Asia including the Rubin Museum of Art, New York; Fotografiska Museum, Sweden; Rencontres D’Arles Foto Festival, and La Vielle Charite, France; Tianshui Biennale, China, University of London, SOAS, Brunei Gallery, UK; UC Berkeley and Harvard University, USA. Ross has taught at Parsons School of Design and Columbia University, and pioneered a photo program for LGBT and homeless youth in NYC. She has worked on photography projects in North Africa, Central Asia, China, Europe and Azerbaijan. Ross received a Hayward Prize through the American Austrian Foundation, is 2016 grantee of Asian Cultural Council, was a 2016 Artist-in-Residence at the Watermill Center, and a 2018 Artist-in-Residence at View Art Gallery, Lanzhou, China.