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Maker(s):Chi, Tseng Kwong
Culture:American, born Hong Kong, (1950-1990)
Title:Lake Moraine, Northwest Territories, Canada
Date Made:1986 (printed in 2008)
Materials:Silver gelatin, toned with selenium
Place Made:North America
Measurements:Frame: 37 1/8 in x 37 1/8 in; 94.3 cm x 94.3 cm; Sheet: 37 in x 37 in; 94 cm x 94 cm; Image: 36 in x 36 in; 91.4 cm x 91.4 cm
Narrative Inscription:  Estate stamped and hand titled and signed by Muna Tseng, Director of the Estate Archive
Accession Number:  MH 2020.7
Credit Line:Purchase with the Madeleine Pinsof Plonsker (Class of 1962) Fund
Museum Collection:  Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

Label Text:
From the exhibition, Faculty Acquisitions, February 26, 2021 - May 29, 2022
“My photographs are social studies and social comments on Western society and its relationship with the East.” --Tseng Kwong Chi

Truth meets fiction in the photography of Tseng Kwong Chi. This is especially the case in the artist’s renowned series East Meets West a.k.a Expeditionary Self-Portrait Series, which merges his performance art persona “Ambiguous [Chinese] Ambassador,” with arresting imagery of the North American wilderness, tourist attractions, and everything in between.

In Lake Moraine, Northwest Territories, Canada, the artist playfully probes perceptions of the North American wilderness as wild, rugged, and masculine, by posing in costume in a modest canoe. The effect is whimsical and romantic. The gentle plow of the oar comically evokes the stereotypical figure of the North American “wilderness man,” a tension heightened by the artist’s suit, which is often associated with Chinese communism.

Tseng chose a familiar view of Lake Moraine for this self-portrait. It is the same vista on the verso of the Canadian twenty-dollar bill, offering yet another layer to the critique of landscapes preserved and commodified for tourists.

This photograph was the selection of Iyko Day, Associate Professor of English and Social Critical Thought.

landscapes; portraits; black and white; uniforms; performing artists; mountains; water; lakes; trees

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