MAstars 2009: Patricia Chu, MA Fine Art

MAstars 2009: Patricia Chu, MA Fine Art Patricia Chu, Still - 'erase' in Repetition, 2008. Performance/video. 30 mins approx

Susie David selects Patricia Chu from the University of Plymouth for MAstars

The room is lightless but for the projection of a woman on all fours, scrubbing fixatedly in one place at a pavement in the street, for what seems a painful, looped eternity. Nothing would seem to prevent her from just getting up and walking away. Passers-by pass by disinterestedly, but the sound of traffic (from behind the viewer) insists on inclusion.

Inside the first room, a smaller one, both intimate and claustrophobic, with a projection in which the woman (the artist) scrubs at her shadow with a rag, whilst chanting the Buddhist mantra: 'Bodhi is not a tree/Mirror is not reflection/There is nothingness to existence/Where can dust be collected?'

There is no way out of this oppression (both in the work and of the work) unless through a corridor in which a square of light projects downward onto the scrubbing rag itself, this object of self-torture rendered harmless, vulnerable. Nothing moves, yet this piece is the most animated of the trilogy. As material antidote to projection I cannot help but reach toward it, unwittingly obscuring the rag with my shadow. My touch is guilty - my own imposed/self-imposed patterns of behaviour are illuminated.

Parker says: 'The rag is life', but offers no salvation, 'life is suffering; we should accept it'.

For this her MA show, Patricia Parker chose not to lug in the large paintings of lonely interiors of her usual practice, on which projections simulate shifting daylight. Instead she has opened up her enquiry to embroil herself in the outer world, and the audience in the inner work. The power of her trilogy lies in the transformative passage of the viewer, and the leap from oppressive projection to cathartic substance, a humble rag, the punctum, which lay innocently in my hand.

Selected by Susie David
Published January, 2009

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