I’ve Left My Body to Occupy Others
Feb 29 - Apr 25, 2020
Good Weather, Chicago, IL, USA
Art participates in the world as a medium of transfiguration.
——Paul Chan (2012)
Good Weather is pleased to announce Pei-Hsuan Wang’s exhibition, I’ve Left My Body to Occupy Others, opening on February 29, 2020. This leap day—an additional twenty-four hours occurring every four years, and a day geared towards realignment—yields an opportunity for a reassembly of the work (traveling from a solo presentation at Chinese American Arts Council (CAAC)’s Gallery 456 in Manhattan) and serves as a portal for the gallery (in early stages of a transition out of a primarily itinerant program over the past two years and into a new location in Arkansas and outpost in Chicago).
The disembodiment implied in the exhibition’s title underlies themes of transition and movement, precarity and precociousness, and the liminal space between the fantastical and real that guides Wang’s practice. The exhibition is both an homage to her niece, Iris (“a brilliantly imaginative child with Taiwanese and American roots”), and an artery to the core issues in her work: migration, imagination, and the self. As the artist states, she extracts “remarkable or paradoxical moments of everyday reality, reflecting on the ties and discrepancies between private experiences and the grand narrative, set in a world characterized by rapid transnational movement.”
In I’ve Left My Body to Occupy Others, these themes assume the form of cheetahs and parrots: creatures with stunning patterns and physique, attributes which lend to their survival in nature but that have “uncannily made them objects of desire and appropriation” and “stand-ins for kitsch, luxury, fetishism, authenticity, and alienated beings with no distinct origins.” In the case of the cheetah, the ceramic body is used as the model in the mold-making process to create its’ fiberglass shadow form—an action of replication and metamorphosis that mingles “reality with memory” and channels the “projection, borrowing, and assertion of identity and the self” on a personal level and cultural scale.
Entering the gallery, one encounters a ceramic head sitting on a large crate: a sculpture which combines the artist’s facial features with that of her niece Iris. This work, a doppelgänger which gets to the heart of transformation and emotional desire in the exhibition, is quietly unsettling and punctuates the spirit of becoming that holds power in the space.
24 x 17 x 43 in
fiberglass, acrylic, paint
25 x 19 x 45 in
stoneware, glaze, luster
14 x 21 x 40 in
Self Portrait As Iris As an Idea
9 x 11 x 17 in
fiberglass, polyester resin, thread
5 x 3 x 2 in
charcoal on paper
32 x 24 in