“screen-skins” is the second solo exhibition of New York-based artist Tishan Hsu at Empty Gallery. Because the Nineteen Eighties, Hsu’s observe has investigated the complicated method by which info expertise has altered the affective, perceptual, and political contours of our embodied expertise. Regularly refining his observe to maintain tempo with these emergent phenomena, Hsu works between portray and sculpture, using strategies similar to UV printing, casting, and digital picture manipulation to create objects that are poised on the restrict between the bodily and the digital. “screen-skins” extends a mode of observe first articulated in “delete” and subsequently refined in displays on the 59th Venice Biennale and Miguel Abreu Gallery, broadening Hsu’s scope of inquiry to embody the expanded sphere of biopolitics and the digital surveillance state.
Comprising six new work and a monumental sculpture put in on the nineteenth flooring gallery, the excessive definition surfaces of the works in “screen-skins” pulsate with a quiet menace. Items similar to camera- screen-skin and double-breath 1 are outlined by an all-over opticality which was first articulated as oscillating scanlines in Hsu’s Nineteen Eighties work—the place they denoted a kind of hypnotic or dazed absorption within the illusionistic house of the display—however has regularly morphed into omnipresent patterns of dots or meshes. These warped topographies specific the sensation of a capitulation to or engulfment by a community which is sort of psychedelic in its sense of energy and scale. Imbricated inside these patterns are parts of representational imagery—fragments of physique elements, fleshy folds and mysterious orifices—which of their very anonymity appear to talk to the discount of the person topic into summary items of quantifiable and controllable information. Each rising from these surfaces and burrowing into, or seeping out of them, are swimming pools of undifferentiated corporeal matter rendered in pigmented silicone. These anatomical eruptions converse to the cussed persistence of the fabric physique in an period by which it has begun to look more and more out of date. As a complete, these works discover the neuro-biological enmeshment of the up to date topic inside a community which is without delay all over the place and nowhere, invisible and but palpable. They articulate a kind of mundane dystopia, one by which consumption and pleasure—certainly, the bottom of expertise itself—are inextricably tied to surveillance, the policing of our bodies, and extra delicate types of biopolitical management. On this concern with the monitoring and management of our bodies, they appear to hearken again to Hsu’s work on the finish of the 80s, by which the assembly of technological and bureaucratic methods was explicitly articulated for the primary time.
Occupying a place of singular significance throughout the exhibition, phone-breath-bed 3 is the third in a collection of sculptures which Hsu started in 2021. A hybrid development which mixes hospital mattress, private computing machine, and life assist system, it’s maybe Hsu’s most somber exploration of the juncture between units and our bodies. Consisting of a rolling metal armature which cradles each a clear polycarbonate physique punctuated by silicone casts and a touch-screen like printed floor, the work reveals the deeper logics linking the utilitarian considerations of the medical trade to the optimized interfaces of recent UI/UX design. With its uncovered cavities and it’s death-mask like visage, phone-breath-bed 3 summons up the liminal house the place the dissociative results of corporeal trauma and bodily decline fold into and reinforce the absorptive world of the display—the uncomfortable intersection between the morgue and the datacenter.
Throughout a historic second—the Nineteen Eighties—when lots of his inventive friends had been nonetheless hurriedly taking part in catch as much as the implications of older regimes of picture circulation, Hsu’s singular deal with the results of the then-nascent digital sphere—not as easy fetishism of so-called new media however thought of in all of it’s manifold implications for the shifting nature of human expertise—has been aptly described as prescient. His observe represents an ongoing and maybe, perpetually unfinished try to know and map out the ontology of present expertise. Hsu does this not, nevertheless, by means of the studied artifice of the analyst or the fabricated omniscience of the cultural theorist, however by means of a form of immanent greedy amidst the movement of our bodies and fluids, screens and information. “screen-skins” reconfigures this line of inquiry to resonate with a contemporaneity by which the impulse in the direction of technological optimism is at its lowest ebb. On this state of affairs, the submerged authoritarian facets of the digital state are on full show, however the topic is way too enmeshed, each cognitively and bodily, to see an alternate. The passage of time thus turns into marked by an oscillation between the seductive fluidity of networked screens and the undesirable consciousness of a corporeal shell which stubbornly continues to exist past the purpose of its personal obsolescence. Hsu’s observe, maybe greater than that of some other dwelling artist, appears to articulate this precarious and paradoxical standing of the article—and maybe, even matter itself—when confronted with its personal participation in a regime of adverse virtuality rising from a Hobbesian cybernetics.
at Empty Gallery, Hong Kong
till June 24, 2023