By Lieneke Hulsfhof

Evelyn Taocheng Wang spent four months working at a Chinese massage parlour in Amsterdam. For many of her Chinese colleagues who were waiting for a residence permit, it was a place that offered the promise of a happy existence in the Netherlands. For Wang, however, it was a part-time job born of necessity. For her, every day meant an unwilling performance, full of unease and uncertainty. A place where her identity was called to question by touching unfamiliar bodies. How do we actually use our body in a social environment? Wang transformed the servile role of masseur into drawings of specific situations in the parlours and the titles are all-embracing: ‘A Hong Kong-Dutch Client Licking My Arm during the Massage Treatment’ or ‘A Client fainted after Receipt Massage Treatment’. Her drawings represent the feelings of an outsider, the intrigue of her colleagues, intimidating clients and confusion about her own sexual identity. While many artists conceal their part-time jobs, Wang uses hers as her main source of inspiration. Instead of passing judgement, she elevates her part-time job to an investigation of her own identity.