Collaboration is a powerful tool to explore the complex realities of gender, cultural background, agency, and subjective experience within a creative and life partnership. Under the name Chao Holliday Art, Lijun Chao and Andy Holliday explore models for collaboration to critically examine those realities through drawing and printmaking. In each project we establish guidelines to follow which determine the roles of hierarchy, communication, and accountability in the process. The format of the works reveals a changing dynamic as we learn to yield control, embrace vulnerability, and constantly shift between the perspectives of audience and creator.
Our recent collaborations are concerned with boundaries, distance, and place. Borders are transitional spaces. Borders keep spaces mutually exclusive, a dynamic that ensures there will always be an “other side.” There is a cost to crossing boundaries. It costs energy and connection. It costs time and closeness. The other side is all of the things that here isn’t. It is real but also a projection of our imaginings. It is perfect and scary; it holds all the things we hope for and want to see again. The other side is a question. It is our restlessness and our uncertainty. It is our desire to be better.
The other side is a memory of things and people passed. The other side is home. Our work creates a tension between what is seen as this side (cǐ’àn 此岸) and the other side (bǐ’àn 彼岸). The dichotomy is a physical one, describing great distance and separation, and a spiritual one. The other side is visualized as a place of transformation, populated by everything that can no longer be found on this side.
This work questions the tangibility of memories and hopes through captured shadows and hybrid landscapes. The direct printing of the shadows imparts an essence or a ghostly remnant of the original, with its cast shadow preserved in a photographic stencil. Each form is layered through printing to construct a shared vision of the reality that is just out of reach.