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Artist Statement

I play with languages, in their diverse forms and functions. By examining languages across times and cultures, I seek out moments of miscegenation and mistranslation. These slippages become generative opportunities in my art practice in which articulation of alternate voices, writings, and images become possible.

In one body of work, prosthetics and live animals facilitate the performing of a non-verbal language that speaks to inter- and intra-species relations. This language – neither written nor spoken, or perhaps at once both – is a response to conditions of beauty and violence that are at once linguistic and corporeal, cerebral and visceral. It is a search for embodied language more resonant and resilient than rational, articulate speech, that which captures the contingent nature of bodies in transition and translation.

Historic public speeches become departure points for my most current series of site-specific public projects. Seemingly disconnected, or “wrong” geopolitical places, sites, and events are butted together and narrated through memorable speeches (e.g. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech, or Salvador Allende’s speech before his death in 1973). These speeches are re-articulated in multiple languages to deliberately produce culturally and linguistically divergent receptions of the work.

My primary intentions as an artist are to set a wider cultural context and discourse for contemporary art, to facilitate critical engagement with complex cosmopolitan realities, and to explore art’s poetic and political potentials.

 

 

Biography

David Khang is a visual, performance, and biological artist whose practice is informed by education in psychology, theology, dentistry, and law. Khang selectively imbeds these disciplinary codes into his work, to compose interdisciplinary languages that materialize in visual, textual, and spoken forms. In performing, Khang often embodies these languages to interrogate social constructions – of gender, race, and interspecies relations – that are present within dominant historic narratives in contemporary culture. By strategically employing non-native languages and code switching, Khang produces divergent, dissonant, and often hyperbolic and humorous readings that re-imagine the poetic and the political.

Khang received his BSc (Psychology) and DDS (Dentistry) from the University of Toronto, BFA from Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design, and MFA from the University of California, Irvine, where he was the recipient of the University of California Chancellor’s Fellowship. Khang concurrently completed UCI’s Critical Theory Emphasis, for which he worked with Jacques Derrida, Etienne Balibar, Fred Moten, and Laura Kang. In 2004, Khang’s thesis was chosen to represent UC Irvine at the Distinguished Master’s Thesis Writing Competition (USA). Khang was a 2006–07 recipient of the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art Award (Brooklyn, NY), and in 2010, an artist– in–residence at SymbioticA Centre for Excellence in Biological Arts (Perth, Australia). Khang was born in Seoul, grew up in Toronto, and currently resides in Vancouver, where he has been dividing his time between art practice, part–time dentistry, and part–time teaching at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Khang is currently a JD candidate at Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia (2016–).


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