Young American

by Lim, Eugenia


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Figuring Landscapes

Lim satirises what she sees as a latent xenophobia in Australian culture by releasing her ‘inner Bowie’ whilst paying tribute to the ‘fearless experimentalism’ of European feminist performance artists.

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Young American explores Australian identity in a time of heightened American cultural and political dominance. In 2005, I arrived home af¬ter an exchange to the USA to find an Australia both familiar yet indistinct.The openness I most valued in my country had all but been replaced by xenophobia. I had the overwhelming sense of being boxed in by Australia’s vastness and isolation, not to mention its fawning ‘mateship’ with the Bush government. I felt adrift, trying to make sense of Australia’s social, political and geographical landscapes and my place within these realms. This uncertainty led me to unleash my inner Bowie. Influenced by the iconography of popular cinema, music, video clips and the work of female performance artists from the 1970s and beyond, Young American points at the coexistence of femininity and feminism, popular culture and provocation. I am greatly influenced by artists such as valie export and Pipilotti Rist, admiring their fearlessness in experimenting with their own images and selves. Young American is a reflection of the hybridity and discordance within multicultural society – the entropy of looking in the mirror, but not recognising one’s own image. Eugenia Lim, 2008


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