Beijing

Tong Wenmin, Branch, 2019, 4K video, color, sound, 53 minutes 8 seconds.

Tong Wenmin, Branch, 2019, 4K video, color, sound, 53 minutes 8 seconds.

Tong Wenmin

White Space Beijing 空白空间

“One of the striking things about places heavily contaminated by radioactive nuclides,” according to James Lovelock, the scientist and Futurist best known for proposing the so-called Gaia hypothesis, according to which the earth is a self-regulating system, “is the richness of their wildlife.” When environmentalists were still bemoaning the “despoiling” of the earth, Lovelock recognized that life flourishes because of—not despite—catastrophe.

For her exhibition “Emerald,” Tong Wenmin presented videos documenting a group of durational performances that are founded on this Lovelockian insight. In Squid (all works 2019), for example, she holds a freshly killed specimen on her palm, waiting for its bioluminescent body to slowly drain of color. The dead animal conforms nearly perfectly to the contours of her hand, reminding viewers of the biological origins of our most mundane “materials,” such

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