The act of levitation serves as an organising metaphor that reappears throughout Su's drawings, moving images, embroideries, and installations. The artist assumes the guise of a fictional alter-ego to explore myriad cultural and political valences of rising in the air.
The centrepiece of the exhibition is a new video work, The Magnificent Levitation Act of Lauren O. This pseudo-documentary tells the story of Lauren O, a fictional character who believes she can levitate, and her involvement with Laden Raven, an activist group catalysed by the US anti-war movement of the 1960s. Su’s video comprises found footage and clips of a new performance by the artist. Weaving together fact and fiction, the work suggests an alternative space for action and disruption.
Traces of Lauren O and Laden Raven are embedded in the constellation of artwork in the exhibition. The works on view invite the audience to take a journey in this fictional world built by Su. A circus ring and a swing, both exaggerated in scale and proportion, are situated in the courtyard outside the main exhibition. Su’s renowned drawings and hair embroideries are also featured in the presentation, conveying the physical and psychological experiences of living in precarious times.
The world Su creates in Arise is an assemblage of various contemporary expressions of how an individual can confront a changed and changing world. Fiction allows us to create this hybrid world, a space where we can explore ideas that cannot be confronted directly.
Angela Su: Arise, Hong Kong in Venice, is co-presented and co-promoted by M+, Asia’s first global museum of contemporary visual culture in the West Kowloon Cultural District, and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.