The horse has become imprecise. She is at once weaponized and abstracted as the symbol of the “free” and the “wild,” at once domesticated with a developed backbone to support human weight. She is at once simianized and anthropomorphized. how to hobble a young horse explores the slippery terrains of animality, constraint, and consent, in both taking on the figure of the Chinese cowboy/girl and the horse in the American (U.S.) West. huang shifts animalities, in becoming them, rejecting them, and transmuting them. The body of work includes performance, film/video, sculpture, painting and photography. The exhibition is named after huang’s most recent performance, in which huang’s cowboy avatar Stirrup Steph with her animatronic horse, Diamond, re-enacts and distorts a found video tutorial of a cowboy demonstrating in disconcertingly domineering and gendered language “how to hobble a young horse.” Stirrup Steph inscribes themselves into the script in the way that they inscribe themselves into the frontier of the American West, a mythological space they recognize as biopolitically, historically, and thus, residually as not belonging to them. Through racial melancholia, how do we navigate new conditions from which we speak and new ways of inhabiting our subjectivities? How can we begin to consider melancholia as a realistic and productive response to the insidious underbelly of American history? This eponymously titled exhibition self-animalizes while also re animalizes and suggests, at the shift away from Stirrup Steph, that huang is perhaps not a cowboy, but a horse, or both. A carousel horse finds kinesis through a windshield wiper motor.
The exhibition at PULPO GALLERY is the last planned show of Stirrup Steph and heralds a new thematic phase for huang.
stephanie mei huang is a Los Angeles-based interdisciplinary artist. They use a diverse range of media and strategies including film/video, installation, social interventions, sculpture, writing, and painting. They completed their MFA in Art at the California Institute of the Arts (2020), and they received their BA from Scripps College (2016). They recently exhibited at the Hauser and Wirth Book Lab, Contemporary Calgary (Calgary), the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, 4th Ward Project Space (Chicago), Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, the New Wight Biennial at the University of California Los Angeles, Cerritos Gallery, and the Arizona State University Art Museum (Tempe). They have been supported by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, The Getty Foundation, the California Community Foundation, among others. They have taught at non-profits such as the Marfa Studio of Arts and Venice Arts. They are a participant at the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program.
Exhibition text by stephanie mei huang and A. C. Smith
stephanie mei huang - three of clubs i, 2021
stephanie mei huang - three of clubs ii, 2021
stephanie mei huang - three of clubs iii, 2021
stephanie mei huang - three of hearts, two of intents i, 2021
stephanie mei huang - three of hearts, two of intents ii, 2021
stephanie mei huang - ace in the hole
stephanie mei huang - 03.12.20, 2020
stephanie mei huang - 8.30.23, 2021