Kat Liu / Yellow Fantasy (Chicago)
Yellow Fantasy (2018) by artist Kat Liu
Through the mediums of photography and video, Kat Liu explores her identity as a Taiwanese-Chinese American woman. Performing in front of the camera, she navigates racial and gender-based violence and stereotypes that have been inflicted on her. Her work addresses the complexities of the Asian American experience by concentrating on themes of body image, cultural assimilation, and fetishization.
Asian representation in the media or on-screen was nearly non-existent when Liu was growing up. When she did see some form of representation, it was made up of mockery and exoticization.
In film, East Asian women fell into the Dragon Lady or China Doll tropes. The first is deceitful and domineering, while the second is submissive and passive. Though these tropes are on the opposite of two extremes, they share a common thread of hypersexual and objectified depictions.
The camera has so often misrepresented Asian women. In response to these misrepresentations, Liu uses the camera to take back ownership of these tropes in order to subvert the narrative of the trope itself. Adorning herself, Liu takes on familiar racialized constructs such as the role of the “perpetual foreigner.” Her goal is to call out and disrupt these notions in order to bring attention to stereotypes that endure.
Yellow Fantasy depicts toxic stereotypes and tropes of the East Asian woman as an “exotic” object.
The artist’s video performance includes the flicking of a paper fan and the unveiling of a yellow-painted body.
BIO: Kat Liu received an MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago (2018). Her prior BA experience in art and photography comes from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse (2013) and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2016). Kat’s work has been published online and in print by Sad Asian Girls Club, Chrysanthemum: Voices of the Taiwanese Diaspora, and Sine Theta Magazine Issue 8 “GOLD (金).” In 2021, she was interviewed by This Story Has Not Been Told podcast for season 1 episode 19 Red/Atlanta.