CHI PAO (CHINESE BANNER DRESSES)
September 25 – November 7, 1999
This mixed media installation addresses gender stereotypes in conventions of femininity prevalent in Chinatown.
Nina Kuo’s Chinese style dresses incorporate film stills from the 1940s – 1950s that evoke the post World War II era of Hong Kong movies, where Western and Eastern notions of romance met highly stylized emotions associated with dramas, family struggles, sacrifice, self denial, and virtue that middle class citizens may question as they seek a renewal of their own heritage and fantasies.
In Chi Pao these film still images are juxtaposed with the artists’ own version of middle class portraits, posing contemporary gestures with past models of global Asian pop culture.
The alluring photo dress monitors the evolution of the Chinatown voyeur inspired by Hollywood glamour, fast food, and everyday fashion. These transformed images reveal a deja vu sensation of how time flirts with Chinese American values.