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Cici Wu: Upon Leaving the White Dust

Cici Wu is a Chinese artist living in America producing contemporary conceptual art. Her works involve combinations of projected film with sculptures and arrangements of ready-made and found objects.

Cici Wu (b: 1989) is a “transnational” artist, born in Beijing, China who later moved to Hong Kong. She studied art at the School of Creative Media at the City University of Hong Kong and came to the United States in 2012 to earn her MFA at Maryland Institute College of Art. She currently lives in New York.

Wu founded PRACTICE in 2015 with fellow Chinese-born transnational artists Ho King Man and Wang Xu. This project is an alternative space located on the top floor of a building in Chinatown that provides art exhibitions and a one-room artist residency. The space allows visiting artists to stay for free while working on their projects. The group of young artists have collaboratively exhibited their work at 47 Canal gallery in the past. Currently, Wu is exhibiting the solo work Upon Leaving the White Dust (2018) at the gallery.

Wu’s Upon Leaving the White Dust (2018) includes found objects such as a photograph, ready-made objects such as light bulbs, and small sculptures of objects such as a pair of hands, airplanes, and a train. Many of the objects in the piece are similar to or identical to the objects in a photograph of Wu’s previous piece White Dust from Mongolia (2017).[3] This makes sense as the two pieces are related, both a reflection of the unfinished film White Dust from Mongolia (1982) by a Korean American artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. They speak to the experiences of displaced Koreans living in China during the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1909 to 1945. It was difficult for me to perceive the historical depth of the work while observing the work at 47 Canal because I don’t have enough knowledge of the history of that region or any knowledge of Cha’s unfinished film.

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Cici Wu is a Chinese-born artist living, working, and collaborating with other Chinese artists in New York City. Her work draws upon her cultural history, with Upon Leaving the White Dust (2018) and White Dust from Mongolia (2017) reflecting on the experiences of displaced peoples living in China.

[1] Huang, Banyi. “Cici Wu.” Wulun. Web. 23 Apr. 2018.

[2] Pollack, Barbara. “Review: Chinese Cultural Nomads Find an Oasis.” New York Times. 12 Jan. 2017. Web. 23 Apr. 2018.

[3] Think Not Once Of Me. “White Dust from Mongolia.” Think Not Once Of Me. Web. 23 Apr. 2018.

[4] Practice. “Practice.” Practicenyc.org. Web. 23 Apr. 2018.

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