Su-Mei TSE “The Source”

Su-Mei TSE “The Source”

Exhibition Period
18 Oct 2012 - 16 Dec 2012
ESLITE Bookstore Causeway Bay branch: 9F, Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay
Opening Hours
18 Oct 2012

This PROJECT ONE work The Source is an extension of Su-Mei Tse’s earlier creation Many Spoken Words. This older work showcased a large fountain often found in European gardens with a small adjustment – the flowing water was replaced by flowing black ink. The ink bubbling out of the fountain and gently streaming down the small sculpture provides stunning imagery.

TSE pays homage to literature with this work by not directly using “words”, but melting them back to their original liquid state. Through this, she portrays the evolution of the human language - how thoughts existed before language was created for expression, and how “words” were invented to communicate these thoughts. Instead of the large ornamental style fountain of Many Spoken Words, The Source is a fountain where one can sip from to quench one’s thirst. She plays with the idea of thirst of knowledge, and drinking from the source of knowledge. She links this to the first sentence of the Bible: “In the beginning was the Word”. As the ink cycles itself in the fountain, the work produces its own unique rhythm and atmosphere, where visitors are led into TSE’s creative world of interpretation, feelings, thoughts, memory, time, and eternity.

Su-Mei TSE was born in Luxembourg in 1973 to a Chinese violinist as a father and a British pianist as a mother. She received strict piano and cello training as a child and chose later to express herself through art because it offered a more liberating platform for her creativity. Due to her family background, sound and music inevitably became important elements in her works. She utilizes a wide range of media such as photography, sculpture, video and installation, and a strong sense of introspection permeates throughout her works, leading viewers to see her works as exquisite yet powerful. Dialogues concerning the senses, music, and time have always held a presence in her works, and she recently has been inspired by the themes of memory and history found in Asian classical literature.

Soon after her thirtieth birthday, she rose to international prominence after representing Luxembourg in their pavilion for the 50th Venice Biennale and winning the Golden Lion prize. TSE then received the Prize for Contemporary Art by the Foundation Prince Pierre de Monaco in 2009, and her works can be found in the collections of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Contemporary and Modern Art Museum of Trento in Italy, the Moderna Museet of Stockholm in Sweden, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio, and the Israel Museum of Jerusalem among others.

Entering TSE’s installation space is similar to entering a soundless party – the solitary viewer detaches oneself from the daily commotions of life to find fleeting calm. Silent memories, private moments, and thoughts emerge from the sub-consciousness in this environment and are given a quick chance to breath in front of her works.

TSE’s shows in Asia include “Bunker Museum of Contemporary Art – 18 Solo Exhibitions” curated by CAI Guo-Qiang in Kinmen, Taiwan (2004); “Variations Xanadu” (2005) as well as “DUOLOGUE: Su-Mei Tse and Lee Mingwei Solo Exhibitions” (2007) at Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei, Taiwan (2005); and her first solo exhibition at ESLITE GALLERY called “STILLE DISCO” (2010). This will be her first project in Hong Kong.

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