Urinating into Duchamp’s Fountain replicas to restore the ‘rights’ of urinals back to its original purpose, shopping naked in a supermarket for ‘forbidden’ fruit impersonating Dürer’s Adam & Eve, an obsessive pursuit of Mono-Sex Butterfrogs, artic foxes and ‘Little Fat Flesh’. Welcome to the bizarre world of Inga Svala Thorsdottir (Iceland) and Wu Shanzhuan (China), a maze of strange ideas and peculiar language that can become powerful concepts to open new attitudes to our accustomed beliefs and relationship with the environment.
During the four-week residency at STPI last year, both artists worked like scientists in a laboratory, investigating how base units such as a line, shape or pattern from which all physical forms in the universe acquire their meaning. This exhibition of over 30 new works, present the artists’ evolving humanist ideology in print and paper.
Starting with the artists’ foundational symbol, the Perfect Bracket is defined by the overlap of both arcs and subversion of common thought for brackets to include or exclude anything. This central motif is the basis of their work that continues to evolve into complex geometrical formations and new philosophical insights. As evident in the polygonal shapes of Seven Circles Little Fat Flesh, What A Form, Little Fat Flesh and infinite tessellations in the Perimeter of Little Fat Flesh series.
The enigmatic artic fox is recognised for its adaptation to changing artic conditions and embodies the artists’ concern of human impact on nature. World Map-Arctic Fox Arc-Temperature War presents the possibility of Earth’s recovery through the artists’ symbolic illustrations on maps to make counterpoints on the ‘temperature war’ and ecological threats today, just as Joseph Beuys was stamping crosses on things to heal.
Wu Shanzhuan is one of the leading figures of the 1980's pre-Tiananmen Square generation of Chinese Conceptualists, and Inga Svala Thorsdottir started Thor’s Daughter Pulverizing Service in 1993 reducing all things back to its powder form. In 1991, Thorsdottir documented Wu urinating into a replica of Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain to restore the urinal back to its original purpose and hence establishing the constitution of Thing’s Right(s) in 1994.
Thorsdottir and Wu have exhibited widely with solo exhibitions: What a Form: A Reportage, OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, 2013: kuo xuan, Long March Space, Beijing, 2011; Thing’s Right(s) 09 The More, Wu Shanzhuan, Red Humour International & Inga Svala Thorsdottir, Thor’s Daughter’s Pulverization Service, Shanghai Gallery of Art, Three on the Bund, Shanghai, 2009 and Thing’s Right(s) – New York 2001, Making Your Own Nationality, Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, New York. They live and work in Hamburg, Shanghai and Reykjavík.