Claudine Chen makes work about identity and belonging. As an immigrant, she doesn’t identify or place herself in any one locality. Where she feels comfortable and where she senses belonging are not the same place. Two poles that pull on any person, but especially on an immigrant, are wanting to feel normal, but also wanting to be exceptional. These conflicting feelings sit side-by-side; feelings of belonging and also feeling like an outsider.
Rendering images from her life in graphite, charcoal and ink, Claudine highlights moments of representation and belonging, along with moments of tension and culture clashes, with the distinction between the two unclear.
Sources include photos from her childhood, her high school yearbooks, and her first visits to China, where she finds her race represented in the majority. These images from the past are imprinted on paper with a charcoal or graphite transfer process, reflecting the selectiveness and imperfection of memory. Items of resonance are then highlighted with ink, gesso, and gouache.
Identity and Belonging