April 19, 2019 - Taipei Fine Arts Museum - Su-Mei Tse: Su-Mei Tse . Nested
April 19, 2019

Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Su-Mei Tse, A Whole Universe (Pomegranate), 2017. Fresh fruit, wooden shelf, variable dimensions. Courtesy of the artist and Edouard Malingue Gallery.

Su-Mei Tse
Su-Mei Tse . Nested
April 20–July 21, 2019

Panel discussion : April 20, 2–4pm, with Doryun Chong, Chia Chi Jason Wang and Yang Yeung

Taipei Fine Arts Museum
No. 181 Zhongshan N. Road Sec. 3
Taipei 10461

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The international tour of the exhibition Su-Mei Tse . Nested arrives at Taipei Fine Arts Museum as its final destination, after showing at the Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean (Mudam) in Luxembourg; the Aargauer Kunsthaus in Aarau, Switzerland; and the Yuz Museum in Shanghai. Curator Christophe Gallois has made unique “orchestrations” of the works in response to the specific conditions of each exhibition space, to enable a poetic and meaningful viewing experience.

Artworks of Su-Mei Tse are permeated with the contemplation of such themes as time, identity, memory, music and language. The core of her art includes photography, sculpture, and installation. Tse excels at expressing synesthetic connections and transformations between different realms in her works – for example, between sounds and images, nature and culture, or spiritual spaces and perceptual experiences. This allows the viewer to sense their own presence in the works and to “nest” within the moment.

Born in Luxembourg in 1973, Su-Mei Tse was raised in a musical family, with a violinist father and a pianist mother, and she herself became a professional cellist. Later, she received a graduate degree in visual arts from the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 2003 she represented Luxembourg at the Venice Biennale, winning the Golden Lion for her installation Air Conditioned and rising to recognition in the international art world. In the last several years, she has spent considerable time traveling, residing in such countries as Italy and Japan. During this period, she produced many new works, which gave birth to the current exhibition, Nested.

In the work Nested, which shares the exhibition title, the artist has embedded stone balls of different sizes and colors in the niches of various limestone formations, representing the delicate balance between holding and being held, and also suggesting associations with the kind of marbles that children play with, or planets orbiting in the cosmos. The series "Stone Collection" draws its inspiration from the Chinese tradition of “scholar’s rocks.” In the past Chinese literati would place unusual stones on their desks, to stimulate contemplation or inspiration. Each work in the Stone Collection series is unique, with a simple pedestal created to set off the distinctive shape and texture of each stone. In continuation of Stone Collection I, which she created on behalf of Mudam Luxembourg, and Stone Collection II, made for the Aargauer Kunsthaus, the artist has produced Stone Collection III specially for Taipei Fine Arts Museum.

As she is a cellist, music has naturally become an essential element in the works of Su-Mei Tse, even a force that awakens her creativity. For instance, the sight of mistletoe clinging to a row of barren trees roused associations with the notes and staff lines on a musical score. Combining this image with Cello Concert No.1 by Dmitri Shostakovich, she created Mistelpartition (Mistle Score), a video work merging visual elements and sound. Conversely, the absence of sound and the presence of silence are also an element in her art. For example, in White Noise a vinyl record turns perpetually on a turntable, and small white balls are stuck in its grooves. The work is a visual translation of the “soughing” sound that arises just before music begins, as if “giving volume to silence,” allowing the viewer a moment to pause.

Tse’s works have simple, clean forms, yet they radiate a multiplicity of meanings that can be read at different levels. Through the visual expression of images, impressions, moods or memories, she often turns powerful yet ephemeral experiences into vividly concrete form. She notes that her works often wander through thoughts, ruminations, references and intuition but ultimately return to beauty and tranquility. This special quality is particularly evident throughout the exhibition.

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