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Catalina Ouyang, Terrarium, 2018, red sand, imagined lotus feet of the artist's great-grandmother carved out of alabaster, soapstone and wonderstone, image courtesy of Rubber Factory

Catalina Ouyang, Terrarium, 2018, red sand, imagined lotus feet of the artist’s great-grandmother carved out of alabaster, soapstone and wonderstone, image courtesy of Rubber Factory

“No one is unique. Everything i live has been lived before. I think this is important and beautiful.”

Name

Catalina Ouyang 

Profession 

Visual artist, et al. 

Website 

catalinaouyang.com

© Catalina Ouyang 1

© Catalina Ouyang

Who are you? What do you do? 

I make art objects, occurrences and thoughts. 

Where are you from? 

China (my motherland) by way of Chicago (where i was born), New Jersey (where i came into sentience), St Louis (where i learned everything else) and now Connecticut, for an MFA. 

Your style in 3 words? 

Goes all in 

Catalina Ouyang, bitch bench, 2018, image courtesy of the artist

Catalina Ouyang, bitch bench, 2018, image courtesy of the artist

Your weakness? Your strength? 

weakness: i never forgive anyone

strength: i never forgive anyone 

What makes you different?

No one is unique. Everything i live has been lived before. I think this is important and beautiful. 

When did you decide to become an artist?

I wanted it for as long as i can remember. But i was a complete philistine. I grew up on deviantart drawing celebrities. I was really good at that. My idea of “art” was the italian renaissance, until i was 16; then it was gustav klimt. That misogynistic bastard. Over time i learned more. At some point, too, my chinese mother mellowed out, so finally i was like lol ok i can be a “contemporary artist.” 

Catalina Ouyang, chia skates, 2018, roller skates, chia plants, image courtesy of Make Room LA

Catalina Ouyang, chia skates, 2018, roller skates, chia plants, image courtesy of Make Room LA

What do you find most fascinating about your work? 

It has helped me survive my worst times. And it has continually given me a new life in new places, and brought me to some of the people i now hold most dear. 

A few words about your favourite creation?

I don’t have a favorite anything but one piece i made recently that i liked was the bitch bench: an 18-foot (5.5 meter) long functional bench with 13 seats that is a self portrait of me as the capitoline wolf who suckled romulus and remus and, through this act of kindness, unknowingly gave birth to a terrible empire.

Someone else’s work that inspired or inspires you… 

Ana Mendieta, Danh Vo, Paul Thek, Cathy Wilkes, Ralph Lemon, Louise Bourgeois, Sondra Perry & more

 A new project coming up or an idea you want to work on?

Right now i am in brescia, italy doing a residency inside an old palazzo dating back to the 1300s (?)…it’s not as opulent as sounds. I’d had grand delusions of making a film here, but that probably won’t happen, so i’m still figuring out what to work on. Then i’ll have work in some group shows this fall in Frankfurt and the US. My MFA thesis is coming up in march of next year and i’ll have a solo show in new york in may. And then a possible big project overseas in the works for 2020, fingers crossed…what will any of it be? who knows!!

Finish the sentence „More important than my career is…“

Checking in regularly to see what my work & actions are doing in the world, how it’s working (or failing to) in opposition to violent structures; blind spots/violent assumptions i might be making in my day-to-day, dismantling those; trying to live as non-violently as i can for the exclusionary field that i am in. 

Catalina Ouyang, an elegy for Marco (performance view), 2016, image courtesy of the artist

Catalina Ouyang, an elegy for Marco (performance view), 2016, image courtesy of the artist

2018: Where are we going?

 Straight into irreparable ecological collapse–jk, we are already there. So don’t have kids. 

When the going gets tough…

Sharpen your nails. 

Your city’s favourite spots? 

I live in New Haven right now for a 2-year MFA program so it doesn’t really feel like my city. And in the city where i lived for 6 years previously, st. Louis…i went through some bad trauma there and then fled, so it also doesn’t feel like “mine” anymore. But i used to love the chinese food there – chef ma, mandarin house for dim sum, lulu’s seafood. Lona’s lil eats is also good. And there was an ice cream place, clementine’s, that was so good, i haven’t found anything comparable even in new york. I prefer ice cream flavors that sound like they should be soaps: rose, lavender, ginger, lemongrass, so on. clementine’s had them all. 

Do you have a vision?

As varys said: fire and blood.

 What would you do if you could change the World? 

What does the world look like without capitalism… 

Tell us about your future plans… 

I want to have a show in hangzhou, where my ailing grandparents live, before they die.

Follow Catalina on Instagram