Stranger, Outsider, Wanderer - An exploration of the non-ocular power to experience oneself
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Stranger, Outsider, Wanderer - An exploration of the non-ocular power to experience oneself
Puzzles of Identity, by Kamila Kusmanova.

LONDON.- Curators Gino Wong and Zishi Zhang present Stranger, Outsider, Wander: an exploration of the non-ocular power to experience oneself. This group exhibition poses the question – seemingly participating in relational activities, yet experiencing the distancing estrangement of a homogenising society, what can individuals do, especially through the power of artistic expressions, to reconciliate the masked and marginalised sense of self with the undeniable desire for autonomy?

Featuring 12 artists with a diverse range of practises and backgrounds, Stranger, Outsider, Wanderer celebrates the exploration of journeys inspired by personal experiences such as family roots, locality, transcultural migration, social stratification, and creative process of art. Whilst challenging the mainstream narratives of identities, the showcased artists also question the traditionally dominant form of ocular and representative nature of art, aiming to juxtapose distinctions between the intrinsic and the extrinsic. Depicting an alternative vision of a continuous border that is transgressed, the showcased artists embrace the power towards a porous, non-linear future pathways for oneself – the right to self-knowledge.

The exhibition starts with Woven Perception Bag by artist Tingting Xiao. Tingting sees the tactile and visual perceptions brought by the traditional techniques of tapestry as a resistance to the homogenising society. Her works are inspired by her experience of working with local Thai and Burmese artists in North Thailand, where she learnt the traditional techniques of handwoven textiles.

Next, there is a set work by Zhengkun Zhan, Trinity I, II, and III. He reflected the topic of absurdity and considered Sisyphus an unlucky protagonist of the Ancient Greek Myth where he is condemned for eternity to push the boulder up the mountain, only for it to roll all the way back to where it was. As Camus expressed, isn’t this just like our everyday existence and routine?

The string vibration—Souls-capes Xixi Qian 2023 Hard-ground etching & Aquatint printed chine collé on rice paper and Somerset velvet white 45.7cm x 61.7cm on 60cm x 110cm

The exhibition continues with Us and Doom to Repeat, by Xuran Guo. She strives to authentically transpose her inner world onto the canvas via de-/re-construction of the human forms balances the weight of flesh with sharp lines. Each painting reflects her lived experiences: personal encounters of violence – domestic, school-bullying, and body image. All shaped her views on body awareness, self-acceptance, and social norms.

Day in Night Yiru Wang 2024 Digital print photograph 15cm×15cm

Through Kazakh felting techniques, Kamila Kusmanova attempts to revive forgotten tales to restore a sense of collective identity in Puzzles of Identity. Exploring the theme of ‘home’, and the sense of ‘belonging’, Kamila aims to heal cultural traumas and to address the issue of displacements and to preserve nomadic traditions among Central Asians which were suppressed during the Soviet era.

Untitled Sitong Yao 75x50 charcoal pencil , acrylic paint, oil paint, linseed oil, large grain gel, Chinese watercolor 2022

Combining elements commonly found in East Asian religions, Anya attempted to ahistoraically postulates a matriarchal religion in Temple and Praying with Candles. She aims to suggest a sense of dissociation – the inability to associate oneself with the patriarchal religions from her own background – and the subsequent attempt to depart from such bondage by inverting the very gendered centre without renouncing the cultural perspectives. Both symbolisms and scripts in many of her works are inspired by Nüshu, a form of writing exclusively used by women of the Yao ethnicity, are depicted.

Woven Perception Bag Tingting Xiao Raw Silk, Hemp, Cotton 37cm×99 cm

Stranger, Outsider, Wanderer also included State of Marginality and Organic 01 by Ziyi Cao: her ecofeminist investigations inspired by observation of differentiated standards and requirements of gendered clothes; The String Vibration-Souls-capes, Commensalism, and Luminous Abyss by Xixi Qian: prints portray that the symbiotic relationship between plants and social dynamics, influenced by Deleuze and Guattari's 'A Thousand Plateaus'; Daily Childhood II by Sitong Yao: depicting persistent dampness and moulds in her London flat that reminded her of her grandparents’ old house, now overrun with moulds; Muted Sea Waves by Mal H, inspired by ‘seapunk’ subculture; photographic works Day in Night by Yiru Wang and Limbo by Jiajie Zheng; and Untitled by Yu Yang.

Untitled Yang Yu 2024 Oil and acrylic on canvas 60cm×120cm

The exhibition is curated by Gino Wong and Zishi Zhang.

Gino Wong is a multimedia artist based in London and Guangzhou. His works have been exhibited internationally in both China and the UK and were purchased by HUAWEI. With a MA in Fine Art Printmaking and a background of media studies, his works concern the distortion and inauthenticity brought forth by the mass media in the modern era while attempt to rebuild a reciprocal relationship between human bodies and the living world. He works with printmaking performance, video, installation, and writing.

Curators Gino Wong (Left) and Zishi Zhang (Right)

Zishi Zhang studied philosophy at the University of Warwick. He has been working with various charities and organisations on social issues concerning youth representation, international development, and intercultural dialogues. For his works, he received the Diana Award and was interviewed by the New York Times, the Times, and the Spectator. Zishi is interested in the transformative and transgressive powers of art and how personal experiences are embodied in the works of art.

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