<em>Xavier Cha</em>, installation view, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, January 22–January 31, 2010. Photo: Peter Wochniak.
Xavier Cha, installation view, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, January 22–January 31, 2010. Photo: Peter Wochniak.

Xavier Cha

Xavier Cha’s conceptual and performance-based work revolves around systems of social exchange and hierarchies of space (both physical and psychological). Her performances, objects, and videos subtly distort these ideologies by re-contextualizing culture, desire, the individual, and community. A frequent collaborator, Xavier has invited dancers, musicians, and mystics—among many others—not only to participate in her projects, but also to become the protagonists of the work.

Cha inaugurates this season’s Front Room. She has hired a series of local performers to enter the space, stand behind a large, freestanding two-way mirror and change from their street clothes into a clown’s uniform and makeup. Visitors witness this transformation from art space to voyeuristic clown factory, as each clown exits the Front Room to mingle casually in the museum. Conjuring notions of entertainment and spectatorship, as well as the role and expectations of the artist, Cha delivers a revealing portrait of disguise.