Pei-Hsuan Wang | Playlist on Spirit
Pei-Hsuan Wang, Self Portrait as Mulan (installation, Ghost Eat Mud, Kunsthal Gent)
Raw clay, grow lights, steel, wood, plastic, ventilation, soil, zucchini seedlings, misting system, 2022
Listen to other playlists by invitees Bernice Nauta (NL), Susana López a.k.a. Susan Drone (ES), Ophelie Naessens (FR), Costin Chioreanu (RO), Venus Patel (US/IE), Caz Egelie a.k.a. menu menu (NL), Irene de Boer (NL), and Gala-Porras Kim (CO/US).
Playlist on Spirit
“Traditionally, sending off the dead is a long, ritual-filled process. Days after Ahgong’s passing, the entire family got together. The grands, the uncles, aunties, cousins, their babies, and all. Facing the street, an elaborate altar had been set up. The mahogany table was adorned with fresh flowers, fruits, lanterns, and golden origami lotuses that we had taken turns folding throughout the previous nights. In the wee hours of a rural neighborhood, this ostentatious installation was a gleaming island of vigor in memoriam.
Hand in hand we formed a circle. At the heart of our reunion was a burn barrel, neat holes punctured on its wall pulsing with glowing ferocity as leaf after leaf of paper money were fed into its licking tongues. Currency for the afterlife, big and small, their tiny golden and silver foil squares flying loose and spinning in the air like expelled wishes. Then it was shoes, pants, shirts, coats, maquettes of cars and houses. No one spoke, we stood transfixed as the blazing mass of perishing commodities generated weather and temperature and fumes and the wet in our eyes. And the resounding howl of celestial commendation.”
Pei-Hsuan Wang’s practice is rooted in ways of engaging with her identity, influenced by the artist and her family’s diasporic migration from Taiwan to the US. Her work, primarily in the forms of sculpture, installation, drawing, and video, intricately weaves together folklore, family history, bio(mytho)graphical narratives, and geopolitical reflections. Wang’s recent projects are tributes and prayers to her kinship, with a particular focus on her niece Iris, a first-generation Taiwanese American. This body of work imagines racial and cultural hybridity, exploring various archetypes in nature and myths. Animal presences become a kind of guardian and portal, giving form to the inner experience. Pei-Hsuan Wang has exhibited work at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Hong-Gah Museum, Taipei, and the National Gallery of Indonesia, among others. Recent solo exhibitions include Gratitude Is A Colored Vessel at Ballon Rouge, Brussels (2023), Ghost Eat Mud at Kunsthal Gent, Ghent (2022), I’ve Left My Body to Occupy Others at Good Weather, Chicago (2020), For Iris at Gallery 456, New York (2020), and You Are My Sunshine at Taipei Contemporary Art Center (2019).