Lin Wang: Tenant, Tranant, Trance

18 Jul 2017 – 20 Jul 2017

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Gallery Sensei

New York
New York, United States

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The exhibition showcases installations made of wigs and machines, which explore the disturbing phenomenon of body transformation in a post-human society, where the boundaries between human and animal, organism and machine, physical and nonphysical have been ceaselessly breached.


In "Tenant, Tranant, Trance", “tranant,” taking components from its two adjacent words, coincides with a variant of “trānō,” a Latin word meaning “permeate” or “penetrate.” The sequence sounds like balderdash. Whereas it epitomizes the process of a being transforming from a corporeal, concrete body into what is fluid and elusive.

With the above as a premise, Lin Wang creates a psychedelic domestic setting that is breathing vigorously. What unfolds in front of the spectator is an array of home appliances. The corporeal traces of some “prior tenants” are left in these machines, underneath which secret souls form and grow.

A large ceiling fan rotates its intimidating hairy wings. Massage cushions, covered by wigs, squirm and glow on the floor and plinths. A set of box fans spin at different rates, attached to which is synthetic hair of different colors, textures, and weights. The back of a chair wields its “arms” and draws in the air. Here, the disturbing moments of daily life, such as hair in the vent and drain, has been enchanted and turned into a poetic, futuristic scenario. 

Also on view are paintings that are parallel to and indicative of the narrative in the exhibited installations. In "Inside-Out" and "Reborn," the artist’s self-portraits morph into other forms. Omnipresent in these series are the exuberant threads and the alluring hair, extending the force of life from one living entity to another, alluding to the imagery of conjoined twins and disrupting the substantiality of the physical body.

Synthetic hair, as the medium articulating the artist’s practice, enables layered interpretations. Hair, as a component of the physical body, usually indicates the corporeal manifestation of an individual; whereas the material used in this exhibit, artificial in nature, alienates the term “hair” from what is natural and personal. The artificiality is reinforced through the wigs’ alignment with machines as well as their serial presence. This duality of synthetic hair has thus led to a question: is it still possible to define the boundary of the human body as we become irredeemably reliant on what used to be alien, such as machines, chemicals, and the digital?

Whether it be a metamorphic organism or a cyborg, the grotesque, uncanny creatures tap into our body panic deep down. Are they the aliens taking over our apartments when we are out? Do they represent the emancipatory power against the human skin? Or are they the future imagery of ourselves as ghosts locked within shells?

Born in Liaoning, China, ​Lin Wang​ received her BFA in painting from China Central Academy of Fine Arts, and her MFA in Painting, Installation, and Performance from Tufts University-School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Her work has been exhibited at One World Trade Center, Metropolitan Pavilion, Ceres Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts, and Su Jia Art Museum in China. She finished her residency at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts last year. Lin Wang currently lives and works in New York.


Yangxingyue Wang

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Lin Wang


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