MAINSPACE EXHIBITION /
Florence Yee – Whitewashed. Image courtesy of the artist.
You Listen Better to Echoes
January 15–February 12, 2022
You Listen Better to Echoes uses diaristic snippets in hand-embroidered essays to confront the anxieties of alienation, racialization, and queerness. As opposed to what might be understood as a healing practice, it centers ugly feelings, what Sianne Ngai describes as “explicitly amoral and nonchathartic, offering no satisfactions of virtue, however oblique, nor any therapeutic or purifying release.1″ It thus advocates for the admittance of skepticism, in order to keep a politically necessary ambiguity in both art and daily discourse. As a medium that is conscious of language and its failure, the text-based works dissect personal and intergenerational relationships beyond the paradigms of normative success. Their experiences seep into labels of queer, trans, diasporic, Cantonese, complicating them beyond singular understandings. Together, these vignettes testify to the ways in which certain violences are not coincidences.
1 Sianne Ngai. 2005. Ugly Feelings. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 6-7.
Florence Yee is a visual artist and recovering workaholic based in Tkaronto/Toronto and Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. Their art practice uses text, installation, and fibers through the intimacy of doubt. Cynical of liberal multiculturalism, their work attempts to step around easy signifiers of legibility. As a recognition of nostalgia’s dangerous, utopic flattening, Florence’s skeptical practice seeks to deromanticize queer, racialized experiences and destabilize linear narratives of intergenerational knowledge by showcasing failure, futility, repetition, and dead ends. Their work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto (2021), the Art Gallery of Ontario (2020), the Textile Museum of Canada (2020), and the Gardiner Museum (2019), and many others. Along with Arezu Salamzadeh, they co-founded the Chinatown Biennial in 2020. They obtained a BFA from Concordia University and an MFA from OCAD U.
Territorial Acknowledgments /
TNG gratefully acknowledges its home on the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region, including the Blackfoot Confederacy (Kainai, Piikani and Siksika), Métis Nation of Alberta Region III, Stoney Nakoda First Nation (Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley), and Tsuu T’ina First Nation. TNG would also like to acknowledge the many other First Nations, Métis and Inuit who have crossed this land for generations.
Documentation by Alexa Bunnell