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Discarded: Conversation, 2000-present
Wood, glass bottles, calligraphy on paper
51.4 x 42 x 35.6 cm

 

I began this work in 2000 and over many years collected old bottles and filled them with coiled scrolls of paper recording phrases people said to me at different times in my life. Writing each out in calligraphic script, I came to see them as transformed into an appealing aesthetic object. Over time, my desire to fill all the bottles and get closer to “completing” the work helped change my relationship to things people said that, in other contexts, I had found challenging, hurtful, mean, rude and hard to shake off. Each scroll is signed with a red-ink stamp, an impression of my name from a seal I acquired in Beijing. I exhibited this work first in 2005 and again in 2016 in near “complete” form, each time offering viewers a copy of all the phrases that they can take away with them. Some interpret the entire text as a form of concrete poetry. I include a sample of the over seventy phrases.

 

Text on scrolls includes:

Itsy Bitsy Spider…/It’s all your fault!/Do you know the story of the little girl who cried
wolf?/I am very disappointed in you./Put on some lipstick./What are you doing here?
Put it in your mouth and suck it/Quack, quack. Hey duck feet./Take off your underwear too./I’m going to catch you./Don’t be so sensitive./I’m going to keep track of the number of questions you ask./I’m sorry that you feel that way./I’m going to pull your pompom off./Come in here.