The Millitzer Studio & Gallery presents Palais de Plastique, an exhibition of new works by Rachel Youn. Inspired by “duplitecture,” the trend in China of copying Western architecture and cities, the works of Palais de Plastique complicate the determination of authenticity versus artifice. Appropriating European canonical motifs such as classical columns, marble, and genre painting, the stage is set for a lavish domestic setting. But—like copycat cities—the works reveal themselves to be earnest fakery, covered with a glossy skin. Utilizing kitschy décor, a Google image search for “western civilization,” and a research trip to HomeGoods, Palais de Plastique critiques the value placed on the original and how, when intersected with the formation of identity, it metaphorically—and literally—falls flat.
Rachel Youn is an emerging artist living and working in St. Louis. They received their BFA from Washington University in 2017. Youn works with sculpture and video to deconstruct hierarchal narratives associated with material, domestic spaces and architectural design. In queering such forms and recreating them as soft, structureless objects, they point to the fluid, unstable nature of race, gender and culture. Their work has been exhibited at the Des Lee Gallery, Art Saint Louis and the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis.