News: "The New Normal: China, Art, and 2017", Wu Tsang at UCCA, Beijing

Wu Tsang participates “The New Normal: China, Art, and 2017,” a large-scale exhibition at The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA). Wu Tsang presents 3 video works produced over past 8 years that reflect her longstanding engagement with language and performance: Shape of a Right Statement (2008), Miss Communication and Mr: Re (2014), Girl Talk (2015).

The New Normal” takes China’s evolving national condition vis-à-vis the rising backlash against globalization on other continents as a point of departure, interrogating the efficacy of art—as a medium for both expression and action—in responding to a fragile and unpredictable present. The exhibition is organized by UCCA curators Guo Xi, Yang Zi, Alvin Li, and Wenfei Wang working with UCCA Director Philip Tinari.

Shape of a Right Statement, Single channel video(color, sound), 5min

In Shape of a Right Statement, one of her earliest works, Tsang stares directly at the camera and re-performs one section of “In My Language, 2008”, a powerful manifesto by autistic rights activist Amanda Baggs. Shot at the Silver Platter, a queer club in Los Angles where the artist previously performed the Baggs text at her then regular club night, Tsang draws connections between the autism community and queer experience, inviting the audience to contemplate the power of language in defining norms and precluding intimacy.

Miss Communication and Mr: Re, Wu Tsang with Fred Moten

Two-channel HD color video with stereo sound, 17min, 2014

Miss: Communication and Mr: Re shows Tsang and African-American scholar Fred Moten in two portrait-like videos, accompanied by two speakers playing a series of voicemail messages that are part intimate self-reflection, part meta-commentary on the nature of and impediments to comprehension and communition.

Girl Talk, Single-channel video(color, sound), 4min

Fred Moten, adorned with makeup and wearing a velvet shawl, whirls to an capella rendition of the song “Girl Talk,” in slow motion. Girl Talk is a poetic rumination on the figure of the drag queen and the mother.


Coined by Carl Schmitt and expanded by Giorgio Agamben, a “state of exception”—the exhibition’s Chinese title—refers to a political situation in which the normal laws and regulations of a society are abruptly suspended, replaced by temporary conditions that in turn become a new status quo. States of exception have been imposed at moments of crisis throughout modern history. Crisis today is constant, as ideals of freedom, equality, and openness, once held by some as universal values, give way to mass shootings, aborted ceasefires, violated norms, and tainted elections.


Wu Tsang

Wu Tsang (B.1982, USA) is an artist and writer who lives and works in Los Angles. Tsang’s films, installations, performances, and sculptures move fluidly between documentary, activism, and fiction. Tsang’s forthcoming and recent solo exhibitions include: Wu Tsang, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK (forthcoming May), 2017; The Luscious Land of God is Sinking, 365 Mission Road, Los Angeles, CA, 2016; Duilian: Wu Tsang, Spring Workshop, Hong Kong, 2016; A day in the life of bliss, Julia Stoschek Collection, Duesseldorf, Germany, 2015; Not in my language, Migros Museum, Zurich, Switzerland, 2014. Group exhibitions include: Bergen Assembly Triennial, Bergen, Norway, 2016; 9th Berlin Biennial, Berlin, Germany, 2016; Co-Workers: Beyond Disaster, Betonsalon, Paris, France, 2015; Looks, ICA, London, UK, 2015; Double Life, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Houston, TX, 2014; Made in L.A., Hammer Museum Biennial, Los Angeles, CA, 2014.