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I’m not alien, I’m discontent
April 6 – May 26, 2024
→ Hessel Museum of Art
Curated by
  • Pallavi Surana
Part of
Exhibition Category
Thesis Exhibitions, Student Curated Projects

Artists: Utsa Hazarika, Leonardo Madriz, and Guanyu Xu

The exhibition brings together works that look at domestic spaces to complicate notions of home and belonging. The exhibiting artists—Utsa Hazarika, Leonardo Madriz, and Guanyu Xu—employ visually dense methods like layering, collage, and fragmentation to show the composite ways in which the idea of home is articulated, even through multiple dislocations.

Madriz’s video projections in Letters to Home II (2023) are overlaid onto household objects inside an installation that resembles a home. In a forty-one-minute loop, the films—a combination of home videos and found footage—are set to a voice-over of the artist narrating a letter to his recently deceased father, reflecting on how memory and loss mark a sense of home. In Xu’s Resident Aliens (2020–), the artist photographs domestic interiors that belong to people who hold temporary visas in the United States. Xu doesn’t depict the subjects or identify them, nor does he reveal where in the United States they live. Instead, he radically transforms their domestic spaces through spatial interventions, which he then photographs. Hazarika’s sculptural installation Bloom/This Is Not That Dawn (2021–) takes us outside the house and into the garden using a live jasmine plant framed by two lattice screens. The work delves into nostalgic memory as it diffuses its particles across the gallery—reflecting its light onto the walls and permeating the air with the scent of jasmine.

I’m not alien, I’m discontent explores the shifting notions of home as the viewer’s eyes migrate through the exhibition’s dense and morphing visuals, searching for a stable place to rest, to find there is none—only consistent instability.