April 6, 2023
Meng-Yu Yan’s exhibition ‘Double Witness’ is on show at the Australian Centre on China in the World in the Australian National University, Canberra, from 3.04. – 16.06.23. The show features a series of 20 video letters documenting an intensive endurance performance by Meng created during a 2019 three month residency in France at the Cité Internationale des Arts and previously exhibited as part of their 2020 solo show ‘Double Witness’ at Dominik Mersch Gallery.
The work follows the artist as they retrace renowned queer Taiwanese writer Qiu Miaojin’s final days in Paris before she took her own life, leaving behind what many consider her masterpiece: the epistolary novel Last Words from Montmartre, in which she chronicles the breakdown of her three-year relationship with her girlfriend Xu; her musings on love and art; detailed descriptions of everyday life; and discussions of her relationships with other women. Mirroring Qiu in age, ethnicity, sexuality, time, place, and gender identity—and even as their own relationship of three years broke down—Yan began to experience a blurring of boundaries between their own life and that of Qiu.
Using temporal connections to engage with the lost history of queer kin, ‘Double Witness’ is part of the artist’s research into “Queer Spectrality”: a term used to describe the ways queerness has been disavowed and rendered spectral throughout history and across cultures.
Meng-Yu will be facilitating an artist floor talk of the exhibition on 11.05.23 at 12:30pm. Register here.
Artwork caption: Meng-Yu Yan, ‘Mirror Gazing’, 2017, digital print on matte art rag, 84 x 119cm
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