Andrea Chung: You broke the ocean in half to be here
For her first solo museum exhibition, San Diego-based artist Andrea Chung presents a new immersive installation together with selected drawings and collages that explore legacies of colonialism and migration. Chung’s research-based practice finds surprising intersections between materials, processes, and places, often examining the histories of the Caribbean island nations.
The artist’s new installation is composed of numerous cyanotype prints of lionfish, a non-native species that has proliferated recently in the Caribbean, destroying the local ecosystem. With their cyan-blue color, the prints conjure a fantastic underwater world, while offering a potent allegory for colonization, as the invasive lionfish reshape their environment according to their own needs. Chung arrived at the cyanotype process through her interest in early photographic histories of Jamaica. Indeed, her collages have often combined late-19th century photographs of laborers with contemporary tourism materials, underscoring the persistence of Jamaica’s colonial history in its present-day economy.
You broke the ocean in half to be here features Chung’s collages and a related video animation, all of which evidence the artist’s longtime concern with the visibility of labor. In Chung’s May Day series of cutouts, the bodies of laborers are removed from their worksites—and thus given a day off. A recent collage series, Crowning, explores the practices of black midwives in the Southern United States and in the Caribbean. Each midwife wears a crown resembling a golden uterus, an emblem of female knowledge passed down through generations. This focused exhibition highlights Chung’s inventive use of collage, printmaking, and photography, signaling her importance as an emerging voice in San Diego’s artistic community.
Andrea Chung: You broke the ocean in half to be here is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and made possible by generous underwriting support from Sonia and Gavin Mandelbaum, Gad and Suzan Shaanan, and Ruki Oygar. Institutional support of MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund.