Working across a variety of media, Stephanie Syjuco—born in Manila, based in the Bay Area—explores the complicated ways in which we understand such politically charged concepts as citizen, immigrant, nationhood, and identity. Central to Total Fabrications is her 2016 installation Neutral Calibration Studies (Ornament + Crime), an array of objects and images that build up encoded narratives relating to the colonized and the colonizer, modernity and tradition, reality and artifice. In line with these themes, the installation Rogue States is made up of twenty-two reproduced flags originally used in Hollywood films to represent fictional enemy nations through the lens of the West. The photographic series Cargo Cults revisits historical ethnographic studio portraiture via a fictional display. For a new site-specific installation for CAM, Syjuco will take the “living exhibits”—recreated villages with native inhabitants—of the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair as a point of departure, linking history to present-day fabrications of unfamiliar cultures.
Stephanie Syjuco: Total Fabrications is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Chief Curator, with Misa Jeffereis, Assistant Curator.