Critics’ Picks

Zadie Xa, The Rabbit, the Knife and the Year of the Pig, 2017, faux fur, dyed and sewn fabric, 35 x 28 x 2".

Montréal

“Four Pillars”

L'Inconnue
233 boul Crémazie O
February 3 - April 30

In the exhibition “Four Pillars,” Hanna Hur, Laurie Kang, Maia Ruth Lee, and Zadie Xa together lead a viewer to reconsider the charged symbols and organic ephemera their works employ. Hur’s pale drawings on silk, such as Nervy, 2017, treat flowers, the sun, the moon, and spiders as variations of a sphere, their rays and tentacles reaching outward. Kang’s darkroom prints take impressions of lotus roots, moths, leaves, and twigs, while Lee’s geometric patterns rendered in steel and arranged in tableaux with bowls of rice, such as Mother’s Knot, 2018, suggest the performance of ritual, the quotidian made into objects of worship. Xa’s pieces of fabric, fake fur, and synthetic hair—The Rabbit, the Knife and the Year of the Pig and Yung Abalone Iridescent Inlay on Sea Foam and Kelp, both 2017—would seem to be stand-ins for the performer’s body, capable of transcendence.

The artists’ imagery doesn’t adhere to any particular mythological, religious, or cultural system. These objects are fluid, moving between possibilities, and rather than revealing identity or biography, they muddle their easy reading and suggest that the outcome of our rootlessness is that we are constantly inventing our own personal symbols. Lee’s Bondage Baggage Prototype I and II, 2017, presents two stuffed tarp bags tied with rope in one corner of the gallery. This allusion to trade and the trafficking of goods is the kernel of the show, as it speaks to the things we carry around privately, until the time comes to slowly unpack and display them.