reviews > Chicago, IL

Most of us do not give a whole lot of thought to the functional objects that we encounter in the kitchen, at the library, at the doctor’s office. Dier Zhang does, with a wry sense of humor that refuses to take any thing for granted. In “Comfort Touch,” a deceptively simple zine, she pairs gynecological instruments with the kitchen tools they resemble—think forceps and tongs, speculums and can openers—setting off a domino effect of feminist deconstruction. Why are the metal objects made and marketed for women so violent? One wonders if female designers might have imparted a more comfortable touch. In “Make/Use,” Zhang tests that theory out, allowing liquid resin in plastic bags to harden in specific places, taking on the shape of a corner that needs a wall hook or a row of books that needs a stopper. The results are uniquely harmonious and individualized meldings of object, need and site, as those gynecologists, with their bayonet shaped vaginal retractors, certainly never managed.

—Lori Waxman 2020-02-15 9:08 PM