Nina Canell, Reflexologies, 2016, mixed media, dimensions variable.

Nina Canell

Leo Xu Projects

Nina Canell, Reflexologies, 2016, mixed media, dimensions variable.

“Reflexology,” the title of Nina Canell’s first solo exhibition in China, seemed an apt topic for a culture that has long purported the medicinal benefits of foot massage. Entering the sparse ground-floor gallery space, which was carpeted in a dingy, low-shag, wall-to-wall industrial chartreuse, one immediately noticed the imprint of the sole of a single shoe or slipper seamlessly inlaid into the carpet’s surface. At first it appeared to be a house painter’s accident, a haphazard mistake, but closer inspection revealed a tattered and well-traveled history. As the title piece to the exhibition, the work, Reflexologies, 2016, also suggested a scruffy foot map of pressure points. But where was the other foot? This lone imprint appeared like a clue to a mysterious event or an inconspicuous biography.

Metaphors of dislocation or absence, displacement, and disconnection run consistently

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