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PRINT January 2001

Ralph Rugoff

SHIRLEY TSE CANNILY CELEBRATES THE PHANTASMAGORIC possibilities of polymers. The Hong Kong–born, Los Angeles–based artist transforms Bubble Wrap, Styrofoam, and polyurethane into pullulating constructions whose sagging and dented surfaces alternately suggest organic growths and abject industrial architecture. And just as the commercially formulated plastics that Tse uses are typically associated with packing and shipping, her sculpture likewise conjures a sense of work in transit, as if it were continually redefining its ultimate destination or even figuring out whether its field of reference is two- or three-dimensional.

This last tendency is particularly evident in two series of large color photographs, from 1998 and 1999, that depict Tse’s vaguely geometric constructions in wilderness areas. Made from ingeniously manipulated inflated plastic bags and sutured solar blankets, Tse’s objects

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