Akeroyd Collection


Cao Yu, I Have..., 2017

I Have… features Cao Yu addressing the camera directly, establishing a direct connection with the viewer, and speaking in Chinese. The video is filmed in her studio, employing minimal lighting, and a fixed camera angle against a black backdrop. While delivering a simple soliloquy, beginning each sentence with the phrase ‘I have…’ her deadpan, almost humorous tone, offers her credentials and intricacies of her curriculum vitae. Interwoven with these professional details, she shares intimate biographical aspects, including her enviable hourglass figure, and the fact that she is a mother of two sons, has a doting husband and many properties in the city. Cao Yu intentionally presents these facts in a non-linear order, emphasizing their collective contribution to her identity. Regardless of their perceived significance or insignificance, each detail seems to hold equal importance. Cao Yu's unashamed proclamation of her achievements raises an interesting question: Why does society impose certain standards of modesty on young girls and women, and what does it mean to challenge them in this way? Rather than rejecting the normative standards imposed on others – wealth, success, heteronormative stability – here, we see a young woman embrace them and positively boast about her status. This becomes an unexpected way to confront the underlying biases and limitations placed on women, particularly within the realm of art, offering a perspective that refuses to critique larger structural issues that present such inequality, instead locating the problem in the personal and representational politics of the self. This becomes a compelling, if not troubling reflection on the intersecting themes of gender, identity, and societal constraints.

MediumSingle-channel HD video, colour, sound
Duration4 minutes 22 seconds
Editionof 6 + 2 APs