M+, at the West Kowloon Cultural District, and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) are pleased to co-present Shirley Tse: Stakes and Holders, an exhibition that renews and responds to Shirley Tse: Stakeholders, Hong Kong in Venice, Hong Kong's presence at the 58th Venice Biennale, in 2019. The Venice exhibition drew more than 102,000 visitors during its six-month run, and was widely acclaimed by the public and the international media.
The exhibition in Hong Kong, held at the M+ Pavilion, includes new configurations of Shirley Tse's site-responsive installations. Over the past two decades, the Los Angeles-based Hong Kong artist Shirley Tse has addressed the various meanings and possible interpretations of materials and things. Her sculptural practice has evolved from considering plastics as the prime signifier of globalisation through circulation, standardisation, and industrialisation to examining plastic as an adjective, and the resonance of plasticity, movement, and multiplicity in contemporary society.
Shirley Tse: Stakes and Holders comprises two installations: Negotiated Differences and Playcourt. In each work, Tse mediates contrasting materials with processes to reflect on interconnections in a pluralistic world. Using sculpture as a mode of multidimensional thinking, she emphasises negotiation as a fundamental component of living in contemporary societies. The ever-changing social and material landscape of Hong Kong is an enduring source of inspiration for Tse, and the exhibition at the M+ Pavilion, curated by guest curator Christina Li, foregrounds the city's dynamic relationships and unique conditions of negotiation.
Negotiated Differences is a sprawling, rhizome-like installation of 3D-printed joints and hand-turned wooden forms that stretches across the pavilion's spaces, drawing attention to aspects of the architectural design. Balusters, handrails, bowling pins, and abstract objects are connected by wooden, metal, and plastic elements, bringing together craft, mechanical, and digital technologies into an integrated whole. For the Hong Kong installation, new wooden components are included that refer to the city's contemporary material culture. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the artist and the guest curator from participating in the installation of the work in person. It is installed through extensive conversation between the artist in Los Angeles, the guest curator in Amsterdam, and the M+ curatorial and installation team in Hong Kong. The exercise in improvisation draws out the responsiveness that is at the core of Tse's approach and amplifies the urgency of negotiation and change in the way we work and live. If the new working and travel conditions permit, the artist and the guest curator will consider the possibility of travelling to Hong Kong at a later point during the exhibition period to carry out a reconfiguration of Negotiated Differences. This potential second reconfiguration embraces the uncertainty of the present moment.
Playcourt comprises sculptural amalgams of equipment and anthropomorphic forms, as well as radio antennas that pick up local non-commercial frequencies. The work emphasises the negotiation between people and space that is a fundamental component of play. This negotiation is at the heart of Stakes and Holders; the exhibition encourages us to connect across differences while exercising our agency as individuals, to recognise with empathy and sensitivity what is at stake and the extent to which we are all stakeholders
Press release courtesy M+ Hong Kong.