Stephanie Syjuco, Detail: The Visible Invisible, 2018. Image courtesy of the Artist, Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco and Ryan Lee Gallery, New York
Stephanie Syjuco: The Visible Invisible
Stephanie Syjuco’s work confronts the media-driven ways in which models of citizenry, immigration, and identity are dramatically evolving in the United States. The Philippines-born, San Francisco-based artist’s insights will all be all the more relevant in 2020, in the lead-up to what promises to be one of the most intense, and existential elections of our time. In today’s heightened socio-political environment where one’s ethnicity is taken to presume their allegiance, people are too easily captioned by assumed cultural tropes we regard as “natural.” As color becomes an increasingly fallible, if no less politicized measure of assigning identity there within, this exhibition will focus on Syjuco’s examination of supposedly “neutral” colors and patterns. Looking to supposedly benign applications of gray, white, black, and green, she mines the abuses and projections that color provides within the escalating negotiation of being/belonging. The physical and conceptual nexus of the exhibition is Syjuco’s 2019 installation Dodge and Burn (Visible Storage): a room-sized “still life” which interrogates color calibration charts (used to check for “correct” color) as a coded narrative of empire.
The Blaffer will also present installations and participatory works by Syjuco across the University, bringing a series of flags representing invented shadow nations to the Anderson Library, a curtain installation questioning the legibility of citizenship to the atrium of the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design, and the artist’s Speculative Dissent Laboratory to video screens, computer monitors and projections surfaces across campus. The latter is co-presented by Syjuco in collaboration with artist Jason Lazarus, and functions as an experimental laboratory for re-imagining protest signs, street actions, and documentation. Participants are introduced to historical examples of protest visuals, images of how protests are framed and manipulated in media, and then tasked with a series of design challenges for new forms of visual disruption.