Travis Jeppesen

  • Gao Xingjian, Miss, 1995, ink on paper, 94 1⁄2 × 46 7⁄8".

    Gao Xingjian

    That the Nobel Prize–winning novelist/playwright Gao Xingjian is also an accomplished painter should seem less remarkable when his work is viewed within the Chinese tradition. The division between word and image was less severe in ancient China than in the West, and the literati who formed the Chinese classical canon tended to be equally adept at painting, poetry, and the art form that so sublimely combines the visual with the written: calligraphy. Gao was born in 1940 and personally experienced the tumultuous events of late-modern China up until his exile in 1987. Like that of many intellectuals

  • Chan Tze-woon, Blue Island, 2022, DCP, color, sound, 97 minutes.
    film December 13, 2022

    Horse Power

    ALTHOUGH THE GOLDEN HORSE traditionally serves as the most coveted launching pad for Chinese-language filmmaking, this year, because of political tensions that have boiled over into official policy, there was a noticeable absence of films from mainland China. Given the brain drain currently afflicting the major cultural capitals of the mainland and Hong Kong, traditionally the intellectual beating heart of the region, it seems obvious that Taiwan, with its rich and dynamic cultural landscape—including an outsized filmmaking tradition that can comfortably stand its ground alongside South Korea

  • Ming Wong, Wayang Spaceship, 2022, mixed media, single-channel video projection (25 minutes, color, sound), multichannel audio with mega-phone speakers, modified radio cassette player, 42' 7 3⁄4" × 32' 9 3⁄4" × 19' 8 1⁄4".

    Ming Wong

    Chinese immigrants brought wayang street opera to Singapore in the mid-nineteenth century. These shows, though staged as free public entertainments, also had a ritualistic component: Typically performed on temple grounds on elaborately decorated makeshift stages to please the deities, they were often presented on the gods’ birthdays and public holidays. The tradition continues today in many places in the Chinese-speaking world.

    Ming Wong has re-created the facade of one of these familiar street theaters. Installed behind the Singapore Art Museum on a port surrounded by shipping containers, Wayang

  • Wei Jia, Wilderness Lovers, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 23 5⁄8 × 19 3⁄4".

    Wei Jia

    There’s a peculiar form of poetry to be found in Wei Jia’s paintings, a blending of motion and narrative: the physicality of presence, of becoming in space, melded to ancient myth. The myth, of course, never dies, its immortality bleating into a burdensome present, whence some new layers of meaning might become encrusted upon the surface. Look at 2020.2.10, 2020, with its Madonna holding the limp body of her crucified son in her arms—a standard Western art-historical motif, though here brought into being by Wei’s masterful abstract-figurative brushwork, which wrenches form out of the sepia

  • Eli Osheyack, Shanghai, 2022. Photo: Dre Romero.

    PUBLIC RECORD

    BEST KNOWN in the art world for his otherworldly soundtracks to the neofabulist videos of Shuang Li, American-born artist and musician Eli Osheyack is more recognized in his adopted hometown of Shanghai for his live sets at ALL Club, where, under his last name, he churned out an intergenre fusion of gabber, synthwave, drone, ambient, techno, and trap that helped place the city on the map for experimental electronic dance music. His latest album, Intimate Publics (SVBKVLT, 2022), can be seen as both a reflection on the quintessential Shanghai sound he has cultivated over the past decade alongside

  • Huang Xiaopeng, K.O.H.D. 1, 2014, video, color, sound, 60 minutes. From “Don’t Kill Me I’m in Love!”

    “Don’t Kill Me I’m in Love!”

    Over the years, the Guangzhou art scene has developed a delightfully ragged independence from Beijing and Shanghai, fostering a coterie of artists stubbornly engaged in forms of political critique that are officially frowned upon. These artists embrace a sense of experimentation that would likely fall afoul of the government’s recent condemnation of what was identified in state media this past summer as “abnormal aesthetics.” One of the central protagonists of this scene was Huang Xiaopeng, who passed away unexpectedly in Berlin at the age of sixty in 2020. His influence continues to be felt,

  • Shuang Li, Marry Me for Chinese Citizenship, 2015, ink-jet print, 15 3⁄4 × 23 5⁄8".

    OPENINGS: SHUANG LI

    “I’M STUCK in these perpetual waves of unrest,” writes artist Shuang Li in a recent essay about her current situation of placelessness. In 2020, Li traveled from China to Berlin for a solo exhibition of her work at Peres Projects. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit. She has been quartered in Europe ever since, giving up on the possibility of returning to her native China anytime soon.

    Li’s state of stasis has lent greater urgency to her already intense reflection on the nature of spectral and digitized forms of presence and on the more generalized status of the body in both virtual and physical space.

  • Alice Wang, Untitled, 2020, mixed media. Installation view.

    Alice Wang

    A yearning for the otherworldly—for what certainly or seemingly lies beyond our reach—undergirds all of Alice Wang’s work, which trespasses on astronomy, geology, ancient history, and science fiction. Her recent exhibition consisted largely of sculptures, along with four black-and-white photographs and the video Pyramids and Parabolas II, 2021, a sequel to or a continuation of a 2019 work presented in a 2020 group show at this same gallery. Visitors were first confronted with a circular table topped with two-way mirrored glass, on which were perched six gleaming silver shards; like most of work

  • Shih Meng Hsin, ( ), 2020, iron,wood, lightbulbs. Installation view. Photo: Kagaw Omin.

    Shih Meng Hsin

    For his exhibition “19:00,” Shih Meng Hsin brought the streets of Taipei into the gallery, the night into the day. Titling his show after the hour that the subtropical island finds itself cast in the neon pallor of nocturne, Shih dimmed the gallery lights into a permanent nightscape while installing a number of items familiar to any somnambulant wanderer of the capital city’s urban scene. Entering the space, one met streetlights perched on iron columns—though the normally erect columns had been twisted slightly, like Beauty and the Beast candlesticks paused in the middle of a welcome dance, or

  • View of “You and I Don’t Live on the Same Planet,” 2020–21. From left: Aruwai Kaumakan, The Axis of Life, 2018; Aruwai Kaumakan, Vines in the Mountains, 2020. From the Taipei Biennial 2020.

    Taipei Biennial

    Right away, the latest edition of the Taipei Biennial announced itself as a thesis exhibition with its pseudo-provocative title: “You and I Don’t Live on the Same Planet.” Bruno Latour asserts that this slogan, once intended as a sort of ironic put-down, actually holds true, as humanity’s perceptions of the Earth’s processes in the twenty-first century have become so distorted and polarized that rival perceptions have inevitably altered what we once collectively visualized as Nature. Latour and cocurator Martin Guinard understand exhibition making as an exercise in pedantry. Visitors arriving

  • James Vaughan, Friends and Strangers, 2021, HD video, color, sound, 84 minutes.
    film February 18, 2021

    The New Weird

    “RUN ME OVER,” tremble the lips of a masochist to the woman who bullied him in high school. “Please . . . I want you to run me over with your car.” She doesn’t. Because only one thing sexually satisfies her these days: cooking mapo tofu.

    A wildly aspirational genderqueer version of As You Like It, with all roles played by women, in Mandarin and set in a futuristic Taipei where a burgeoning countercultural resistance to social media has resulted in internet-free zones ornamented with anime sprites, Chinese opera, calligraphy, and divinatory paraphernalia—a cinematic parallel to hyperpop.

    A successful

  • Wang Sishun, Apocalypse, 2016–, copper, stone, aluminum, dimensions variable. From “Study of Things.”

    “Study of Things”

    Things are so sexy. That’s because they are dead. Or fundamentally useless. According to Heidegger, a thing is an object fallen. An object has use, real use, functionality; it becomes a thing when it is broken down and we can no longer use it—at least not for the purpose for which it was designed. A thing is therefore kind of like art, which, in some classical-modernist sense, is meant to have no function other than to impel reflection.

    But objects have been asserting their thingness a lot as of late, thinging all over the place, in a hylozoic revivalism presented to us by twenty-first-century