Riddle Bodies


Artists: Shao Chun

Curator: Yuan Fuca

Location: 2F, The Cloisters Apartments, 62 West Fuxing Road, Shanghai

The Cloister Project, Macalline Art Center’s special projects space in Shanghai, is pleased to present “Riddle Bodies,” a solo exhibition for Shao Chun that will showcase an all-new series of installations, sculptures, and objects, from March 12 to 16 September, 2022. This exhibition is an extension of the artist’s long-standing interest in and study of emotional forms, bodily structures, and interactive materials. By connecting the material textures of different mediums, she awakens subtle observations and intimate impulses within seemingly familiar experiential memories.

In her practice, Shao studies, challenges, and reshapes the body’s fluid relationship with technologies, materials, matter, and virtual space. She examines the ways in which bodies and spaces shape one another and change power relationships in classical gardens, the constant renewal and rupture of physical experience in infinite chains within the online space, the forms of intimacy between bodies and materials, and the metaphorical relationships between the body and everyday objects. In the artist’s rich combinations of materials, bodies find new forms, which are revealed in different rooms in the exhibition space. The main installation, entitled Super Clean (2022) and comprised of fabric and air pumps, takes an indescribable form that is the result of the artist’s intensive handiwork. At the same time, lights, vessels, and other everyday objects, as well as materials such as feathers, hair, gauze, shells, silica gel, and false eyelashes, appear repeatedly. The control of sound, light, or mechanical energy is imbued with a fragile yet invasive interactivity. For example, The Lure (2022), comprised of a lampshade frame and plastic pipe, speaks in whispers; the indistinct sounds she makes come from the internet, and the displacement of an emotional form points to a hidden presence, summoning a ghost.

In Shao’s work, the imagination of form rejects the simple progress of narrative time. As the “riddle” in the title suggests, she portrays interactive aesthetic experience as a narrative vessel that can carry consciousness, emotion, and mystery. This is not to say that these bodies are self-sufficient, separated from the disturbances of the past and the present, the real and the virtual. It is only due to the rich and heterogenous materiality of the work that traces of the unavoidable influences conveyed by today’s bodily experiences can be revealed. Compared to the rhizomatic proliferation or mechanical control of the body, these strange and beautiful bodies divulge the invisible differences buried deeply within familiar everyday materials. By constantly confronting challenging technologies and rejecting abstraction, we shape our own reality.

About the Artist

Shao Chun is a multimedia artist whose research interests encompass the field of multimedia installation, e-textiles, speculative design, and data-driven art. She studied Fine Arts at the Academy of Art in Hangzhou in China and graduated from the School of Art Institute of Chicago in the Performance Department. In 2019, she received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Washington at the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media. Her most recent research focuses on interactive textiles, exploring the poetics between touch and emotion. From 2014 to 2018, Shao taught at the University of Washington in Seattle, along with numerous exhibitions, awards, and residencies.

About the Curator

Yuan Fuca, Chief Curator-at-Large of Macalline Art Center. She was the founding Artistic Director of the Center between 2019 to 2022. Yuan Fuca has previously held positions at Independent Curator International in New York City, Spacetime C.C. (the New York studio of American sculptor Mark Di Suvero), and the Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation. From 2016 to 2019, Yuan co-founded and managed Salt Projects, a non-profit art space that offered a site for practice and exchange among young artists and practitioners. Fuca’s curatorial practice has been supported by Parasite (Hong Kong), Maxim Gorki Theater, Asia Society, Japan Foundation and New Century Art Foundation. She is the founding editor of Heichi magazine, the online bilingual publishing platform affiliated with Macalline Art Center. Her writing has been published on platforms such as Artforum, Artnews, BOMB, Flash Art, and Frieze.

About the The Cloister Project

The Cloister Project is Macalline Art Center’s special project space in Shanghai. The Cloister Project is situated on the fringes of Shanghai’s urban culture, embracing artistic intuition and novel creativity. The Cloister Project is the successor of the cultural salon, a place of ongoing encounters. The invited artists, curators, writers, and researchers are constantly shifting between the roles of host and guest, exploring the heterogeneity and spirituality of an artistic community today based on the common value of mutual respect.

The Macalline Center of Art (MACA) is a non-profit art institution located in the 798 Art District of Beijing and officially inaugurated its space on January 15, 2022. Occupying a two-story building with a total area of 900 square meters, MACA unites artists, curators, and other art and cultural practitioners from around the world. Through its diverse, ongoing, and collaborative approaches, the Center establishes a new site on the contemporary art scene. Guided by the “work of artists” and backed by interdisciplinary research, the Center aims to bring together a community passionate about art and devoted to the “contemporary” moment so as to respond proactively to our rapidly evolving times.