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Save my baby first

A work made of watercolor with pen and black ink over graphite on cream laid chinese paper.

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  • A work made of watercolor with pen and black ink over graphite on cream laid chinese paper.

Date:

2017

Artist:

Evelyn Taocheng Wang
Dutch, born China, 1981

About this artwork

Reflecting her experience as an Asian transgender woman living in the Netherlands, Evelyn Taocheng Wang’s subject matter includes objects, places, and personae (both fictional and historical) that represent transformation and displacement. Wang uses a variety of styles and media to create works that are confessional and autobiographical yet also address the ways in which sexual identity, ethnicity, labor, and class establish hierarchies within society.

Save my baby first! is part of an installation that communicates her anxiety about the cultural, ethnic, and gender roles people assume or are assigned. Wang frequently incorporates female artists’ voices in her work; here she refers to Virginia Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse (1927), drawing parallels to the protagonist, Lily Briscoe, who questions her identity in relation to the gender norms of her time. The man and woman represented are intentionally ambiguous; they could refer to characters from Woolf’s novel, the artist herself, or people from her daily life. At the lower right Wang inserted a text, an exchange between the two figures in the painting: “‘Save my baby first!’” the woman exclaims, straining to protect the infant from the yellow waves that engulf her. The chained man in the sky responds, “‘What?!? She is a real woman now?! She just gave birth?! No! No! This is impossible! She is not a woman! She is a false one!’” Blending absurdist dialogue and personal narrative, the text blurs the fine line between fact and fiction typical of Wang’s practice, as does her gesture of installing the work on paper next to her own dress by French designer agnès b.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Contemporary Art

Artist

Evelyn Taocheng Wang

Title

Save my baby first

Date

2017

Medium

Watercolor with pen and black ink over graphite on cream laid Chinese paper

Dimensions

94 × 176 cm (37 × 69.2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Eric Ceputis and David W. Williams

Reference Number

2020.333

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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