Marriage of Convenience
wood and chain, 21.25in. x 11.81in. x 59.06in., 2019.
A social phenomenon exists in China that is not easily recognized. Numerous members of the LGBTQ+ community enter heteronormative marriages due to social pressure, as queer identity is shunned and not legally recognized. Marriage of Convenience takes direct inspiration from this oppression, being directly inspired by my homosexual aunt’s marriage to a homosexual man.
In this sculpture, the two big circular rings represent two wedding rings; the big one assumes the identity of the male, and the small one assumes the identity of the female. Intersecting dowels creating letters X and Y in the big circle, and two X’s in the small circle, refer to the X and Y chromosome pairs. Similar formations suspended by a chain represent the relationship that binds these two figures, from the domestic, to the physical, to the systemic. Mirroring the suppression of same-sex marriage in China, the sculpture is tucked inconspicuously into a corner. A type of love veiled by another figuration of love, the sculpture casts a shadow in the shape of a heart.
Ruhan Pan is an interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture, installation, photography, and design, currently studying in the Art & Art History and Communication, Culture, Information & Technology (CCIT) programs at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Born and raised in China before coming to Canada in 2015, Pan uses her experience of various cultures to explore social issues and personal experiences through a minimalistic approach to artmaking.