Open: Wed-Sat noon-5pm

1a Tenter Ground, E1 7NH, London, United Kingdom
Open: Wed-Sat noon-5pm


Gestures of Resistance

A.I., London

Thu 5 Oct 2023 to Sat 25 Nov 2023

1a Tenter Ground, E1 7NH Gestures of Resistance

Wed-Sat noon-5pm

LINSEED and A.I., in collaboration, presents the group exhibition Gestures of Resistance, featuring six artists with Asian backgrounds: Weixin QUEK CHONG (b. 1988, Singapore), Min Jia (b. 2001, Ürümqi, China), Samak KOSEM (b. 1984, Thailand), Asami SHOJI (b. 1988, Japan), Rachel YOUN (b.1994, USA), ZHENG Zhilin (b. 1991, Guangdong, China). Spanning paintings, videos, sculptures, and installations, the works on display give form to the perplexity experienced in different social and cultural contexts. Revealing traces of desire, affection, the tactile, and the intimate, Gestures of Resistance illuminates how the body confronts, disentangles, balances, and reshapes the relationships of different powers.

Installation Views

Installation image for Gestures of Resistance, at A.I. Installation image for Gestures of Resistance, at A.I. Installation image for Gestures of Resistance, at A.I.

Upon entering the gallery, we are confronted by a silicon sculpture by WeiXin Quek Chong. Suspended from the ceiling, it is bound by steel chains evoking the pleasurable play of constriction and release. Also suspended Jaded Purrs, a translucent latex installation echoing a gesture, re-examining the tactile and skin-like nature of the material. Zheng Zhilinʼs work showcases her recent research on different dancing gestures on stage in an attempt to accentuate the theatricality and elasticity in her signature portrayal of robust and unwieldy torsos and limbs. The jazz dancer in Zhengʼs Storyteller, though depicted in an illustrative format, defies a typological reading. His deadpan face seems to be a misfit with his twisted body. Zhengʼs sinuous delineation achieves a slow-motion effect, leaving the body stuck between the past and the present, in between the two dancing poses. Similarly, it is difficult to tell whether the convulsing sculptures by Rachel Youn are euphoric or startled. Youn's work enlivens artificial plants through discarded massagers, bridging the functional and the decorative. Born to a Korean father as a pastor in America, Youn finds that the Koreans flock to the church less for religious purposes than to have company with fellow Koreans. For the artist, one thing in common with attending a church and a queer dancing party is the gesture of vulnerability that ignites the space, epitomized by the convulsions of these sculptural installations.

Resonating with Younʼs kinetic work, Min Jia and Asami Shojiʼs paintings evoke a haptic experience through the body. The hand is a prominent feature looming on Asamiʼs murky canvas steeped in fits of gloom. In 23.8.30, the hands create a wonderfully soothing loop between figures in erratic contours. Instead of endowing physicality, the artist addresses the gentle feeling of touch through the dissolving flesh that oen overspills the outlines—an effect achieved through a thick priming of white paint. Akin to an allusion to mythological anthropomorphism and bestiality in Asamiʼs paintings, the character in Min Jiaʼs Into the Oceanʼs Arms is having intercourse with a ghost-like figure. Min Jia has been enamored with Chinese folklore depicting insatiable bodies that transform into different shapes. The hands in Min Jiaʼs work seem more provocative with, for example in Wind Catcher, the fingers pinching the fabric or catcher over the protagonist. With a piece of gauze overlaid on the painting, the hands become a self-reflexive writing of the relationship between the painting and the viewer. These artists no longer emphasize the presence through traumatic expression but to capture the delicate connections and instigate a dialogue.

In Samak Kosemʼs video work Habibi, an effeminate dancer flails his arms with the raucous music. As noted in Carl B. Holmbergʼs study of popular culture, certain gestures refer to gender, which is probably most ostensive in transvestite dance [1]. In South Asia, there is the re-emergence of the tradition of Bacha Bazi or the dancing boys where boys are trained to perform as girls for male audiences. However, through a lens akin to live-streaming vision, Kosemʼs work takes a so landing on the beholder with a tinge of entertainment instead of outright misery. As the camera closes up to the protagonistʼs body and face, their eyes and gestures get more intimate and erotic. The dance spins about queerness and longing, which, with Kosemʼs frequent shot reverse shot fabricating a strained dialogue with the Muslim male audience, raises the question of the subject and object of desire against the backdrop of intersectionality.

These six artists no longer emphasize their presence through traumatic expression but capture the delicate connections and instigate a dialogue.

[1] Gesture, Body Image, and the Fashion of Sex Toys in Sexuality and Popular Culture, Carl B. Holmberg.

Installation view, Gestures of Resistance. Courtesy A.I. and LINSEED

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