nobody’s home Shuang Li
Peres Projects is pleased to present nobody’s home, Shuang Li’s (b. 1990 in Wuyi Mountains, CN) second solo exhibition at the gallery for the occasion of Gallery Weekend Berlin.
Two years ago in February 2020, Shuang Li travelled to Berlin from China for the opening of I Want to Sleep More but by Your Side, for her first solo exhibition at the gallery and ever since has not been able to return home due to Covid restrictions. This second exhibition in many ways explores the ramifications of that decision, and the ensuing two year period of restlessness and dislocation. The video, sculpture and wall works in nobody’s home explore the relationship between screen and body, body and its image, and is intertwined with a reflection on new forms of intimacy.
Addressing disembodiment in her new video work How Come an Image (2022), the combined gestures of flip book animation and scrolling on a screen are exhibited in a loop on a custom oval screen. Pixels and pages blur together as the images repeat and accelerate – blending into a single image before disintegrating – reflecting processes of the body being broken down into pixels and algorithms and then reassembled by digital screens.
Li’s works are ambivalent, nostalgic as well as jocular. The wall pieces, titled Tears Don’t Fall and Heartbeats Pound Softer, are inspired by anime the artist spent so much of her childhood reading and watching from her otherwise insular surroundings. Their incandescent pearly surfaces are reminiscent of the internet cables that run along the ocean floor connecting the earths continents, except that they’re decorated with barrettes in the shape of stars and hearts. The image shifts and unravels through multiple emotional and cultural registers.
In nobody’s home the artist hovers between ideals of home and belonging. Seashells house and protect sea creatures wherever the animal goes, creating home in a realm of otherness. Li’s colorful, hazy seashells, titled Rather, rather, and Thank you for the venom, recall holiday souvenirs – lifting it to your ear you can hear the sea, this image of a home is also a medium to project us somewhere else.
Triangulated between Germany, Switzerland and China, Li articulates the sense of longing and distance growing up outside a cosmopolitan center, and that has become, especially in the last two years, a common experience for many of us. Intimacy between people is now often facilitated by screens, and the consequent experience of displacement as the intimacy between the body and the screen itself deepens. Li is interested in the relationship between technology and our bodies, and specifically the way our offline bodies no longer exist without their on-screen counterparts. Her work is a low-fi hack of physicality – exploring how to leak between screens and find subjectivity, how to find the loopholes within experiences mediated by technologies. Implicated are larger questions of migration and containment, the nation state and the power of big tech expressed through our collective desire to find home.
This is Li’s second solo exhibition with Peres Projects in our Berlin gallery. In addition, Li has exhibited in a number of international exhibitions including Double Vision, curated by Tobias Berger, Jill Chun and Daniel Ho, Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong, Lemaniana: Reflections of other scenes, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève in Switzerland, How Do We Begin, curated by Poppy Dongxue Wu, X Museum, Beijing, Modes of Encounters: An Inquiry, curated by Biljana Ciric, Times Museum, Guangzhou and Cosmopolis #1.5: Enlarged Intelligence, Mao Jihong Arts Foundation in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Li is currently participating in the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, The Milk of Dreams, curated by Cecilia Alemani.
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