EXHIBITIONS: Tse Su-Mei’s ‘Nested’

ARCHITECTURE: Noisy Profanity at Notre-Dame
May 27, 2019
ARCHITECTURE: Huat Lim & Susanne Zeidler (ZLG) and Ken Yeang
April 3, 2019

Tse Su Mei's 'Nested'


  • Published 21 May 2019 

The traveling exhibition Nested arrived at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum as its final destination on April 19, 2019, after showing at the Musee d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean (Mudam) in Luxembourg; the Aargauer Kunsthaus in Aarau, Switzerland; and the Yuz Museum in Shanghai. The curator, Christophe Gallois has made unique “orchestrations” of Su-Mei’s works to enable a poetic and meaningful viewing experience.

Su-Mei’s works are permeated with themes such as time, identity, memory, music and language. The core of her art includes photography, sculpture, and installations. In Nested, Su Mei’s expresses synesthetic connections between sensory experiences and subjective phenomenological experiences. This amalgamation is, for example, achieved by transposing the subjective experience of attempting to recall a distant memory into an allegorical installation such as the Vertigen de la Vida (Dizziness of Life); a miniature moving sculpture similar to a spinning carousel. 

Su-Mei’s work are characterised by minimalistic and clean forms, and yet successfully achieves to possess multiplicities of meaning that can be interpreted at different levels – a strong indication of the artist’s awareness of phenomenology vis-à-vis symbols and forms. A true master, the artist finds herself reversing this relationship by transforming and materialising ephemeral experiences such as images, impressions, moods and memories into concrete form. This demonstrates Su Mei’s ability to operate both on the material and on the phenomenological realm.

Su-Mei notes that her work often, “wander through thoughts, ruminations, references, and intuition but ultimately return to beauty and tranquillity”.

Below is a series of selected videos and installations from Nested:

The contemplation of the starry sky seems to me such a vital and necessary replenishment - that it astonishes me that it is not more usual, and that on summer nights, cities and fields, forests and the banks of the highways, the coast and mountain slopes are not strewn with dreamers. - Herve Guibert, L'Autre journal

Quote featured in exhibition.

Video 1: The piece presents the visual translation of audio hiss. The artwork stretches the moment before the appearance of music, as if it were a case of "lending volume to silence", and presents the viewer with a suspended time of potentiality.
Video 2: The 'Vertigen de la Vida' (Dizziness of Life).

Tse Su-Mei's work presents itself superficially as conserved, minimalistic and simple; however the concepts, ideas and philosophies that underpinned the structures of her work have no shortcomings in their profundity. With simple and minimalistic form, the viewer is able to cast their own projections and interpretations onto the artwork, thus operating on a multiplicity of meaning that can only be revealed on a phenomenological plane. Nested in the Taipei Fine Arts Museum was a refreshing display of artistic originality and writing brilliance that shows that not only does the artist succeed in building on from her own canvas but gives full reverence to the artists and writers that preceded her. 

Born in Luxembourg in 1973, Su-Mei Tse was raised in a musical family, with a violinist father and a pianist mother, and she herself became a professional cellist. Later, she received a graduate degree in visual arts from the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 2003 she represented Luxembourg at the Venice Biennale, winning the Golden Lion for her installation Air Conditioned and rising to recognition in the international art world. In the last several years, she has spent considerable time traveling, residing in such countries as Italy and Japan. During this period she produced many new works, which gave birth to the current exhibition, “Nested.”

Nested is currently exhibiting in the Gallery D&E&F of Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Zhongshan District, Taipei until the 21st of July 2019. 

-Leon Jake Lim