Reassurance, curated by Yeu-Lai Mo.
Featuring work by Susan Pui San Lok, Erika Tan, Mayling To, and Jen Wu, Reassurance was at SPACE Triangle, London from 24 February to 25 March 2005, and at Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester from 29 July to 02 October 2005.
This exhibition marks the curator, Yeu Lai Mo’s, personal commitment to the practice of four artists. In part the title is in reference to the activity of curating, and the relationship between artist and curator. It is also intended to draw attention to one of the central concerns of all the artists’ work, the balance between the comfort of group belonging and the pull of the possibility of an individual statement. Reassurance was curated by Yeu-Lai Mo in conversation with ‘Roots’ a joint initiative between BBC London and the Arts Council England.
Susan Pui San Lok’s ‘Notes on Return’, is a large projection framed by reams of blank till rolls, set to the soundtrack of a poem by the exiled poet Bei Dao, read by the artist and her parents. Initially reciting the poem in Cantonese and later in English, the readers hesitate with their different levels of fluency and then gain confidence as the three voices repeat the words together. A sense of fragmented individual stories is heightened by both the initial tentative stumbling of the readings, and also by the disparate images of the projections.
Erika Tan has been commissioned by the BBC to create a new work through a residency at BBC London. During Reassurance’s tour to London and Manchester, Tan will be experimenting with the creation of transient communities via a radio phone-in, inspired by Tan’s own experience of connecting with callers’ personal memories of Chinatown in London. To discover more about the residency please email: email@example.com and tune into BBC Radio London throughout March. For Reassurance Tan has produced Cast from a recent residency in Shanghai, made in response to the sensations Tan experienced on encountering one of the particular features of the city. City parks are illuminated at night with a green light, creating an incandescent glow, transforming the open spaces. The resulting film has the potential to act as a trigger to the audience to connect with their own particular perceptions and experience.
For Reassurance Mayling To was commissioned to produce a new video work. To is fascinated with the visual and narrative language of popular detective fiction and the wider structure of cinematic language and the televised image. This new work focuses on the arrival of an ice cream van in a suburban street, filmed through a static surveillance camera installed inside To’s home. ‘Inactions (16.15 – 17.30hrs)’ is structured to stimulate a response through what is seen, as much as what is expected to be seen, in the daily drama of a small section of one London street and reveals a surprising community created through the routines and repetitions of the everyday. Confusion and dislocation are the predominant features of Jen Wu’s installations. In the gallery a jumble of monitors and televisions are stacked up on each other using breeze blocks and shelving units. Footage played on the screens is drawn from earlier projects — semi-scripted scenarios where the artist takes on the persona of a series of characters such as a detective following herself through the street at night through Regents Park, and acting as the model, dictating the terms of her own erotic photo-shoot.
The exhibition is accompanied by a free booklet, edited by Lisa Le Feuvre, a curator and writer based in London whose recent curatorial projects include, ‘Gordon Matta-Clark: The Space Between’ (Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow and Architectural Association, 2003) and ‘Mediterranean: Between Reality and Utopia’, ‘Hashem El Madani and Pierre Bourdieu: In Algeria’ (both 2004, The Photographers’ Gallery).