Patty Chang: The Wandering Lake

Copublished with the Queens Museum in 2017
Edited by Karen Kelly and Barbara Schroeder
With an afterword by Hitomi Iwasaki
Design by Leftloft
124 pages, 90 images, softcover, 7 ½ x 9 ¾ inches
ISBN: 978-0-9986326-3-6


Integrating video, photography, sculpture, writing, and performance into one expansive body of work, Los Angeles–based artist Patty Chang examines the complex way stories develop through geography, history, cultural mythology, fiction, and personal experience. Accompanying her project A Wandering Lake that was in part inspired by turn-of-the-century colonial explorer Sven Hedin’s book Wandering Lake (1938)—which tells the story of a migrating body of water in the Chinese desert—this artist’s book, combining Chang’s writings and travel photographs with historic and theoretical text excerpts as well as photographs of her sculptures and watercolors, is a personal, associative, narrative meditation on mourning, caregiving, and landscape.

Praise and Press

Excerpts from the exquisitely designed artist’s book, published by Dancing Foxes Press, appear throughout the exhibition. Most of the wall labels, for example, eschew interpretive descriptions of individual artworks and instead feature an apposite block quote from the book, and the entire voice-over script of the thirteen-minute film “Configurations” derives from the book. These piecemeal texts amplify the backstory but can’t express how the book, as a whole, evocatively integrates the project’s multitude of discursive registers. If the exhibition is like a partially completed jigsaw puzzle, then the book, with its imbricated layers of image and text, is an image of the completed puzzle.

—Louis Bury, Hyperallergic

This is a guide to mourning; but Chang widens the scope to include political conflict and environmental degradation, and argues that, despite the losses we’ve incurred, we are still collaborators in the making of our worlds.”

—Erin Schwartz, The New York Review of Books

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