Antonius-Tín Bui: There are Many Ways to Hold Water Without Being Called a Vase

Francine Almeda, Sixty Inches From Center, September 21, 2023

An exploration of the power of cuts in Antonius-Tin Bui’s paper works, revealing a narrative of queer and AAPI identity, offering a vivid, nuanced, and healing portrayal that transcends stereotypical representations.


In 1996, The New York Times critiqued China’s Olympic women’s gymnastics team’s performance by comparing it to a cracking vase, saying “Like many a Ming vase, their routines looked lovely but had cracks in several places.”1 This article is a sharp example of the insidious truth that the West’s ornamentation of the East as a delicate, unblemished, object is the basis of its minoritization. Being compared to a cracked vase by these white authors further creates implications of a gendered binary: Asian women as supine fetishes and Asian men as effeminate subordinates. However, what this brash comment unknowingly positions as a defect (the “cracks in several places”), is in fact naming the act of breakage that Asian Americans have learned to reclaim and wield as our most potent, innate power. In Vietnamese-American, queer, non-binary, poly-disciplinary artist Antonius-Tin Bui’s solo exhibition, There are Many Ways to Hold Water Without Being Called a Vase at Monique Meloche gallery, their collection of hand-cut paper works embody the exact rupture necessary through which queer and AAPI/API narratives are illuminated and empowered.


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