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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Beyond Borders and Biology: Lisa Myeong-Joo’s Self-Portrait of a Circle (2016)

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Situating the art of Lisa Myeong-Joo in a history of South Korean–Australian politics and cultural relations, it is possible to see her series Self-Portrait of a Circle as an interrogation into the limits and imaginative potentials of the adoptee body in contesting the bodies of the nation-states of South Korea and Australia. In this essay, I argue that Lisa Myeong-Joo consciously plays with ethno-nationalist conceptions of representation and appearance through “performative anonymity” and equivocation toward place. By interrogating the dominant biological and cultural essentialist paradigms of family and state, Lisa Myeong-Joo’s practice contributes to ongoing scholarship on the Korean diaspora.

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