Trailer Summary Season Five
For a short overview about the upcoming Season 5 watch the extended Trailer
I studied drawing and painting in school but right now… I am interested in a lot of different things.
Right now, I still do drawing but I am moving into video, performance, animation, and I said before, I
co-wrote a book. So, I think there is only a limited amount of things that can be expressed from a
piece of drawing. And I’d like to incorporate more ideas and meaning that requires a lot of different
kinds … or means of expression.
In 2008, I did series of drawings called the Paracelsus Garden. I have been doing this kind of drawing
for a long time. Those are like black-and-white scientific drawings and I find this kind of old scientific
or anatomical drawings really fascinating to look at. Especially anatomical drawings of a human
body. Because the looking inside, the act of looking inside the body … it’s voyeuristic, pornographic,
or even a little bit perverse.
So actually, what you see here won’t be a straight representation. It will more be like an artistic,
personal, subjective interpretation of what a body looks like.
For me, this kind of discrepancy is very interesting because most of the time the drawing would
come across or would convey an idea of truth or authority. But in fact, it doesn’t.
And I find this very interesting as well. And that’s why I am interested in doing this black-and-white
scientific drawings. The usual method that I use is to take ‒ for example ‒ a drawing of the human
body, break it apart into internal organs or bones and everything, reassemble everything into a new
form, a new organism ‒ maybe it’s a plant, or an insect. So, for „Paracelsus Garden“, this is what I did.
And I sort of also took Darwin’s evolutionary tree and flipped it around so that the human being is at
the bottom of the tree.
And the body of the human being would be evolved or de-evolved into all different kinds of
fantastical or alchemical beings, such as the mandrake, basilisk, and homunculus.
The other piece of work that I want to talk about is called „Hardford Girl and Other Stories“. It’s
basically a performative video work about pain and self-harm.
For the perfomance itself, I have hired a tattoo artist to inscribe 39 lines of text on the back of my
back without ink. So, this is an inkless tattoo and none of the marks will stay on my body
permanently. And the texts were drawn from prayers, almost fanatical prayers of blood and water
and blood gushing from Jesus Christ’s heart and something like that and again, I find this very
perverse and almost cannibalistic. There is something crazy about the Catholic religion. So, anyway
… With this performance, the image of the performance, I wrote a text to accompany the image and
it was presented as a voice-over. The text covered the different aspects of pain. Whether, for
example, questioning if physical pain is a release of psychic pain; does pain mean some kind of
transcendence of a religious point of view? And I got these texts from different sources ‒ from
Wikipedia, or different essays that I read along the way, and there are some personal writings as well.
So, everything added up into … got woven into some random stream of consciousness. And I had a
lot of fun doing the project.
I guess I am interested in the body, in pain and maybe some people would say torture. Something
that is dark and gothic. I like something that gives me goose bumps and I am also interested in
biotechnology, the body and the machine, the idea of the post-human.
Angela Su received a degree in biochemistry in Canada before pursuing visual arts. By adopting existing scientific belief systems, Su creates works that prompt us to contemplate our own being, our inscription in space and in time. Her biological drawings often combine the precision of scientific sketches with a mythical sense of aesthetic to challenge the audience’s visual sensory on the pleasure of pain. Not only has Angela been interested in exploring the perception and imagery of the body, through her performance-based works such as „One-Woman-Apartment“ (2008) and „The Hartford Girl and Other Stories“ (2012), she continuously investigates the tension of the artist’s dualistic state of being when under physical endangerment or distress. Su’s works have been exhibited in the 2nd CAFAM Biennale, 17th Biennale of Sydney, Rossi & Rossi and Saatchi Gallery in London.
The interview was conducted on November 29, 2014 at Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong.
Interviewed by: Johannes M. Hedinger
Filmed and recorded by: Banny Ng
Edited by: Paul Barsch
Transcript by: Yvonne Mattern
Produced by: Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK), Connecting Spaces Documents #5
Special thanks to: Asia Art Archive