Laiwan: Traces, Erasures, Resists highlights the artist’s attention to the material and symbolic vocabularies of print and lens-based media between 1980 and 2000 and features her early interventions into the logic of the book form and the ideology of historical and encyclopedic genres. The exhibition title references processes related to printmaking, while at the same time speaking to the absent narratives, redacted perspectives and critical refusals that are latent in official publications.
Laiwan: Traces, Erasures, Resists observes how literary structures are echoed in the apparatus of 35mm slide, 16mm film, and analogue video projection. Laiwan’s moving image installations explore how this inheritance informs how we write and read images across mediums. For the exhibition, the Belkin has restored now-obsolete media works such as African Notes (1982), The Language of Mesmerization/The Mesmerization of Language (1986), Travels in China (1985) and Machinate (1999), which have not been exhibited since their inception.
Since the early 1980s, Laiwan has made a meaningful contribution to Vancouver’s cultural ecology through her engagement with artist-run centres – including as founder of the Or Gallery in 1983 – and her participation with numerous queer, feminist, multicultural and visual art print publications, notably with local activist collectives Angles and Kinesis, and as editor of Front Magazine from 1994 to 1997. In addition to the audio-visual works, this exhibition will present Laiwan’s archive of literary, poetic and journalistic work.
Laiwan: Traces, Erasures and Resists is guest curated by Amy Kazymerchyk and made possible with the generous support of the Audain Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and our Belkin Curator’s Forum members.