New York–based artist, writer, and publisher Paul Chan (US, b. Hong Kong, 1973) came to prominence in the early 2000s with vibrant moving image works that touched upon aspects of war, religion, pleasure, and politics. In 2009, following a decade of art-making, Chan embarked on a self-imposed break, turning his attention to experimental publishing and the economics of information by founding the press Badlands Unlimited. Taking the notion of a “breather” as its organizing principle, this exhibition surveys Chan’s activities since his voluntary break from that point to the present.
Paul Chan: Breathers opens with Nonprojections and Arguments, two series that explore the possibilities of the moving image beyond its primary place of the screen or projection. Language, design, and networks of circulation are examined through the radical publications produced by Badlands Unlimited, which include paperbacks, e-books, zines, GIFs, and books on stone tablets in genres such as erotic fiction, artists’ writings, and poetry. Finally, the presentation showcases a new series of kinetic sculptures titled Breathers. These billowing, fan-powered fabric bodies move in a free-form choreography in the gallery, and are described by Chan as “animated by breath.”
The exhibition is accompanied by a Walker-produced catalogue created in close collaboration with Chan, with contributions by the artist, exhibition curator Pavel Pyś, and Vic Brooks, senior curator of time-based visual art at EMPAC, Troy, New York.
Contains mature content.
Pavel Pyś, curator, Visual Arts; with Matthew Villar Miranda, curatorial fellow, Visual Arts
Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU: September 8, 2023–January 7, 2024
Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis: March 8–August 11, 2024
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