Mulan! Make Up!
Taiwan Academy in Los Angeles, and Human Resources
Mulan, Make Up! is a multidisciplinary exhibition combining film screenings, a visual arts exhibition, and a series of performances. Through starting a discussion about the appearance of gender and the body in a contemporary context, the exhibition seeks to investigate the politics of the body from a global mindset.
Hua Mulan is a well-known figure from Chinese literature who famously took her father’s place in the army by dressing up as a man. For Mulan, Make Up! Hua Mulan acts as a symbolic figure to open up societal stereotypes and dispel the traditional binaries of yin and yang, spirit and body, hardness and softness, thereby pushing self-identity beyond the two-dimensional framework of gender. The phrase “Make Up!” comes from the popular Japanese comic book hero Sailor Moon, who recites her catchphrase “Moon Prism Power, Make Up!” to transform into her crime-fighting alter ego. Like Sailor Moon, the ego can transform itself into an alter ego through makeup as an outward expression of inner desire. This is a process of capturing transitory and flowing states of gender, as well as a journey towards finding the illusory self.
Artists invited to participate in the exhibition create works in which they use their own bodies to contemplate the concept of transformation: the possibilities of transcending culture, historical traditions, gender identity, and the symbolic imagination of the body. Furthermore, the works offer consideration about how to maintain individuality in today’s state of excess mediatization in which the body has been liquified, giving us an opportunity to examine the meaning of life and existence within a society of consumption where desire has already died.
Mulan! Make Up!
Exhibition at Taiwan Academy in Los Angeles
2019 ©Taiwan Academy in Los Angelesg
Curated by Yu Cheng-Ta
Mutant Salon in collaboration with Experimental Half Hour and Project Rage Queen