Now Open: Greater Toronto Art 2024, March 22–July 28.

Zadie Xa

Mood Rings, Crystals and Opal Coloured Stones

November 21, 2020
–December 4, 2020

Zadie Xa, Mood Rings, Crystals and Opal Coloured Stones, 2016. Single-channel video, 20′40″. Courtesy of the artist.

Working with performance, moving image, textiles and painting, Zadie Xa playfully interrogates the cultures that inform her experience within the Asian diaspora. She is interested in creating non-linear narratives that centralize around powerful archetypes, which are often female. Moodrings, Crystals and Opal-coloured Stones, 2016 focuses on the central character of a Korean shaman, and channels the artist’s interest in the supernatural and traditional ways of knowing. Fuelled by her research into female mudangs (or shaman) she develops a performance in which she acts out their rituals. Xa considers herself an ‘amateur’ in her understanding of Korean culture and identity, and therefore uses strategies of mimicry in attempts to perform or attain authenticity. In this video work, the artist wears SVN Stacks/Moon Marauder, 2015, an intricate, hand-sewn garment. Her textile works often combine references from contemporary streetwear, such as Western-style varsity athletic jackets, and traditional Korean folkloric clothing. The “G” logo on this work references “Ganggangsullae”, an ancient Korean women’s folk dance that was performed under the brightest full moon. It also features familiar symbols used to identify Asian bodies as ‘other’: the commodified yin-yang symbol, lucky numbers and ‘monolid’ eyes. Her work’s deployment of these exaggerated motifs challenges perceptions of Asian identities while creating new alternatives.*

*The language around the film is graciously provided by the artist and Art Council Collection, UK.

This video has been selected as part of a programmatic take over by independent curator, Daisy Desrosiers.

Filmed sequences: Benito Mayor Vallejo
Performers: Jaeyeon Yoo and Zadie Xa

Past Shift Key Programmes

A still from Cecilia Vicuña "Paracas" (1983)
Cecilia Vicuña
A Still from Cauleen Smith "Pilgrim" (2017)
Cauleen Smith
Mona Hatoum
Aura Satz
Preemptive Listening (Part 1: The Fork in the Road)