Tina Wang is a performance artist based in New York and California. Identity, fragility, and resilience are key themes in her work, which draws on her experience as a Taiwanese citizen raised in Latin America. By immersing the body around the objects of menial labor, she challenges assumptions about where these objects belong, who belongs with them, and their relationship to living bodies. Her performances create playful and dramatic relationships between human body parts and inanimate objects. She invites audiences to take a fresh look at differences between motion and stillness, animate and inanimate, human and non-human.
She obtained her BA in dance and psychology at Washington University, and Certificate in contemporary dance performance at the Peridance Capezio Center. She has furthered her movement training with other dance (American Dance Festival), yoga asana (Iyengar), and fitness (Strongman) modalities.
Recently, Tina participated in EMERGENYC 2020 program and Creative Capital's taller para artistas profesionales, The Sable Project, and the NYFA Immigrant Artist Program. Her work has been hosted by Judson Church, New York Live Arts, Governor's Island, The Exponential Festival, Breaking Ground Festival (AZ), Chashasma (UES), Dixon Place, the Immigrant Artist Biennial fundraiser, Nimbus Dance, and Chinatown Soup. She has received grants from Dance/NYC, California Arts Council, and The Foundation for Contemporary Arts.
My work uses densely textured objects to ask questions about the unity of the human body and the life of still objects. I investigate how the body can be “discomposed” into object parts and how objects can be fashioned to a person so that the objects appear to have life. How does the stuff we use become part of us? How do we become mere stuff? I question whether creating a meditative atmosphere in performance involving abstract human body movement and objects that hold context of their own in society can be a way to open the imagination of the viewer in how they engage with other objects and people around them.
I have been influenced as an Asian-Latina immigrant who came to reside in the United States after growing up in Brazil, Venezuela, El Salvador, Mexico, and Taiwan. With that and a decade of work across the gig economy (service, dance, translation, yoga), my body holds vivid traces of the isolation, loneliness, and pressure to conform I felt throughout the many transitions. The memories have inspired me to make work rooted in the humor and resilience I needed to cope with varying and rigid norms. I want to keep using catharsis as a tool of community building, in thinking of absurdist images and senseless labor can bring about a sense of exhaustion that sheds one's guard and opens one up to others for dialogue.
In my Thirst series, I create expressive body-plastic-water sculptures that punctuate the piece. One of my concerns is how performance can foreground these symbols so that we feel less numb in our discourse and action about them. In my Candylicious performances, the more soothe myself with calamine, the more I yearn for explosive cathartic movement. I ask when are we internalizing beauty standards or when we are expressing our authentic selves.
All of my work shows off the musculature of the body in order to celebrate my gender and defy stereotypes about femininity that remain troublingly pervasive in Chinese and Taiwanese culture. In my future works, by zooming into the details of the performative body in videos, I turn up the volume on the sculptural yet visceral qualities of the live performance. With these ideas in mind, I want to keep making performances that incorporate video, sculpture, movement, and materials in helping us reflect on social expectations.
Tina Wang began her dance training under Sonia Franco de Batres of San Salvador, El Salvador as a late beginner ballet student. While attending Washington University in St. Louis, she further trained in ballet, Horton, and jazz technique, gaining performance experience under The Slaughter Project by Cecil Slaughter. And then she persued training at Peridance Capezio Center’s 2-Year Certificate Program with the guidance of Liza Kovacs and Marlena Wolfe. When at American Dance Festival, she studied under Ming Lung Yang, Elizabeth Corbett, and Mark Dendy.
After intensive studies in ballet, Horton, Graham, and Limon, she worked with choreographers and directors in devised dance and theater works, including The Next Stage Project, Francesca Harper, Maija Garcia, Tatiana Pandiani, Mark Dendy, Melissa van Wijk, among others. Her training in Iyengar yoga and functional strength training (Strongman) have also influenced her movement ideas and forms. Most recently, she has performed in collaboration with other artists at the Park Avenue Armory, Pioneer Works, Brooklyn Museum, Eighth Floor, and The Watermill Center.
Work with Ariel Asch has inspired her to place contemporary dance outside of traditional proscenium stage venues. Her experience working with Tamar Ettun and her Moving Company shifted the framework she thought about the potential of dance movement in collaboration with other mediums of art to focus on sharing the more poignant everyday experiences with audiences. Since then, she has pursued performance work with artists within the intersection of experimental dance and moving installations. Her work with Tingying Ma pushed her to consider the possibility of researching the expressive and communicative capabilities of a singular moving body.
She also acknowledges Francesca Harper and Maija Garcia for their artist support in her interest in the intensity of minimal but intensely still moments in dance, the seed that is fully explored and her performance art work today.