GAYE CHAN
HISTORIC CHARACTERS & FAMOUS EVENTS Installation Views + Details

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I once bought a saké cup at a second-hand store. There was a glass marble-like thing that sat at its bottom. When liquid is added to the cup, through the refraction of the marble, a tiny image of a tiny naked 'Asian' woman would appear at the bottom of the tiny cup. She would be masturbating and she looked just like one of my mom’s sisters.

A few years later, I used this saké cup as a part of a mixed-media piece about booty. Not as in "shake your bootie" or "bootie-call" but as in plunder and spoils -- spoils of colonial projects, or spoils of vacation packages. Through the tea I poured in the tiny cup, the tiny naked woman appeared within the artwork as part of the booty. Unexpectedly, during the second week of the one-month exhibition, she began to fade. When I came to refill the tea on the third week, she completely vanished.

I become obsessed with her disappearance. Who was she? Where did she go? To no avail I looked for her in nudie playing cards, online auctions, mail-order brides and porn websites,… In another second-hand store I found a 1894 ten-volume book set titled, "Historic Characters and Famous Events". I knew I will find her in there.