YARAT Contemporary Art Space announces a solo exhibition from Korean-Canadian artist Zadie Xa, running from 12 July – 29 September 2019. Showcasing a major new multimedia project, Xa creates a sub-aquatic marine environment, inviting audiences to enter into an immersive world by way of atmospheric lighting, surround-sound, large-scale video projections, sculptures and costumes. This work is a co-commission with Art Night, London (22 June), Tramway, Glasgow (26 October – 16 December) and De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill (1 February – 4 May 2020).
At YARAT, Xa brings together imagined and learned Korean folklore, transforming diasporic knowledge into new realities. Within her immersive world, she presents an origin story inspired by Korean creation myths, centered on the giant goddess Grandmother Mago (Magohalmi). Exploring the passing down of ancestral knowledge through the matrilineal social structures that are based on the separation of responsibilities between male and female deities in the creation of the universe, the work confronts the goddesses’ shift in cultural status over time, from central to marginal.
Throughout her practice, Xa uses water and marine ecologies as metaphors for exploring the unknown, whilst also alluding to abstract notions of homeland, having grown up on the west coast of Canada. Often creating fantastical underwater realms, the exhibition features a large-scale, surround-sound video projection of the ocean, and a pod of orcas - a theme which is then revisited in a series of sculptures. The final element of the exhibition is comprised of costumes and masks originally used by the artist during performances at ArtNight 2019 and the 58th Venice Biennale, now presented as sculptures at YARAT.
The work is enhanced by a public programme of performances by early career local artists, selected in partnership with Xa. These performances will take place within the exhibition space.
This exhibition is curated by Helen Nisbet, Artistic Director, Art Night with Art Night Associate Curator Amy Budd. The performance programme is curated by Anna Fech.
About the Artist
Zadie Xa uses live performance, video, painting and textiles to question how cultures inform identities and notions of self. Her layered costume works are sites for exploring personal cultural histories that stitch together personally relevant imagery sourced from music, digital space, fashion and art history. Xa has developed a system of personalised symbols that propose entirely new images and objects, creating a personal visual language for articulating nuanced Asian identity narratives, which are frequently situated within fantastical or supernatural realms.
Zadie Xa (b.1983, Vancouver) currently lives and works in London. She received an MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art, London in 2014 and her BFA at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Vancouver in 2007. Recent solo exhibitions include Soju Sipping on a Sojourn to Saturn, Galeria Agustina Ferreyra, Mexico (2018), HOMEBOY 3030: Return the Tiger 2 the Mountain, Union Pacific, London (2018), and The Conch, Sea Urchin and Brass Bell, Pump House Gallery, curated by Mette Kjærgaard Præst, London (2017). Selected group shows include Body Armor, curated by Jocelyn Miller, MoMA PS1, New York (2018), Paradise, organised by Adrienne Rubenstein and Edgar Bryan, Night Gallery, Los Angeles (2018) and Four Pillars, L’inconnue, Montreal (2018). She has also staged performances at international galleries and festivals including Palais de Tokyo, Hayward Gallery, Serpentine Gallery, Block Universe and the Korean Cultural Centre UK.
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