Su-Mei Tse

Tim Van Laere Gallery

For many, the news that the 2003 Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion would be awarded to Luxembourg-based artist Su-mei Tse was, to say the least, unexpected. But for the happy few who’d managed to find their way through the narrow streets and overcrowded canals to the Luxembourg pavilion, there was little to be surprised about: After all, Tse had conjured a simple, powerful, and—why not?—beautiful transformation of a complex reality. Her video projection Les Balayeurs du desert (The Desert Sweepers), 2003, for instance, made a poetic yet lucid comment on how the Western world is keen to use immigrants but, if possible, without having to see them in society. So in Tse’s translation a group of Paris municipal sweepers, complete with green uniforms, were placed in a barren desert. The sound track unveiled the real story, allowing one to hear the sweepers doing their daily job, before sunrise, in

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