Jennifer Ling Datchuk

July 13 | September 7, 2019


F&M Projects is thrilled to release the publication Jennifer Ling Datchuk: Half, the first catalogue of the 2019-2020 inaugural publication program of the nonprofit organization. Join us for the book release on Saturday, July 13, 11am-2pm at 1200 S Presa Street. By appointment through September 7, 2019.

The publication collects works from Datchuk’s three series — Dark and Lovely, Blackwork, and Girl You Can — that build upon themes of identity, race, and gender primarily through porcelain, as well as performance and digital documentation. Featured writers include Sarah Darro and Kalia Brooks Nelson.

Datchuk mines the loaded histories, cross-cultural significance, symbolic dualities, and provenance of her materials. It is her stewardship and scholarship of those material-histories that allows her to bring forth and enact charged objects and agents of critical discourse, camaraderie, and disruption. Half relates the bodily extensions of her Chinese American identity, expressed through threads of human hair, to the globalized politics of both the porcelain trade and the commercial beauty industry...

—Sarah Darro
Excerpt of "Critically Making Self: Jennifer Ling Datchuk"

Datchuk is familiar with living in an identity space of in-between-ness. Although this transient state may be familiar, it is also a site of contestation. As such, her work is charged with critiquing the rigid social and cultural boundaries of race and gender—not only in how the parameters of race and gender are constructed, but also, and perhaps more importantly, how the appearance of race and gender affect physical bodies as a means enacting power over standards of beauty, the division of labor, and the consumption of goods…

—Kalia Brooks Nelson
Excerpt of "Blue and White Forever: Embodying Race and Gender in Clay"

About the Artist

Datchuk’s work has always dealt with identity, with the sense of being in-between, an imposter, neither fully Chinese nor Caucasian. She has learned to live with the constant question about her appearance: “What are you?” She changes her response depending on her hair, make-up, clothes, what she is doing, where she is, or what she is eating – who she is at the moment. She finds people are rarely satisfied with her answer. 

Datchuk explores this conflict through porcelain, which nods to her Chinese heritage but also represents “pure” white – the white desire she finds in both cultures. Porcelain allows her to describe dualities, for this material can capture both fragility and resilience and has been so coveted throughout the world that it was considered “white gold”. She aims to take back that fluidity and uses it to explore her own identity as a woman of color by focusing on the emotive power of domestic objects and rituals that fix, organize, and sooth lives. 

Trained traditionally in ceramics, she uses her body in relationship to porcelain objects and depicts her relationship to object making through performance and digital documentation. Bound by these conditions, she stitches together her individual nature, unravels the pressures of conformity, and forever experiences pain in search of perfection in a world that does not know where she belongs. 

Jennifer Ling Datchuk was born in Warren, Ohio, and lives and works in San Antonio, Texas. As the child of a Chinese immigrant and grandchild of Russian and Irish immigrants, the family histories of conflict she has inherited are a perpetual source for her work.

Datchuk holds an MFA in Artisanry from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and a BFA in Crafts from Kent State University. She has received grants from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio as well as Artpace to research the birthplace of porcelain in Jingdezhen, China. In 2016, she was awarded a residency through the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, Germany, and was a Black Cube Nomadic Museum Artist Fellow. Recently, she completed a residency at the European Ceramic Work Center in the Netherlands and was awarded the Emerging Voices Award from the American Craft Council.

Pre-order Jennifer Ling Datchuk: Half to reserve your copy—or subscribe now to receive all books to be released in 2019.