• Emily Trowell

Wu Tsang: Under Cinema

Updated: Oct 1, 2019

This review was previously posted on the FACT Liverpool website, 17.01.2018.

As an artist working in digital what did you take from Under Cinema that might influence your own practice?

The use of projection in gallery one, where the two images impose on each other and fluidly move against each other is so beautiful to witness, that it becomes something that you are desperate to experiment with yourself, eager to see if you can recreate that feeling you get when you see an art work you love. I work with projection of digital material myself and I am already planning to create an installation influenced by the curation of the space and the projection technique employed to extend the space beyond the confining walls of the gallery space.

In what ways do you feel that Wu Tsang deals with topical issues around race, representation and sexuality and how is this relevant to current students of art?

Wu Tsang’s display of sexuality throughout Where Hold We Study is very moving. The relationship between the artists and the movement they create together is very visually appealing, especially with each space that they obtain. I think that the artists themselves display a very strong confident appearance and personality, which exudes sexual tension. The piece itself creates an alternate universe in which the artists coexist together, hinting at the possibility that the society created would be a lot better than the one we currently have, where people could be happy together regardless of their sexual orientation or binaries.

Specifically, in Under Cinema, hearing Kelela speak about her race and black culture is informative for everyone. The passion that she displays whilst talking about it and its subsequent influence on her art is very moving and may even highlight issues with others and their cultures. By reflecting upon this, it enables the audience to connect with her on a personal level and brings the audience into the film with her. We are no longer spectators, but are in her studio with her, a part of it all.

There is a lot to be learned from Wu Tsang and her approach to the issues that are highlighted throughout the exhibition, they are key elements to both her exhibits of art, and are key subjects being tackled within art on a greater scale today. Art is becoming more and more politically charged every day, and as students we must be current and aware that this IS going to be a significant part of art for the future, and embrace that.

What is it about the show that would make you recommend it to other fine art students and students studying other subjects?

It is an awe-inspiring display of film; the visuals are astoundingly well put together and the sound is perfect for the images you are presented with. Whether you are a Fine Art student or not, you will enjoy the exhibition, as it’s purely a visually astounding display of artists and their movement, accompanied by music and sound that you will want to download when you get home. I have already had Kelela’s album on repeat since I visited.

As a student, why is FACT important to you and why would you recommend other students to visit?

FACT is the only gallery I can absolutely rely on throughout the year to deliver an exhibition that I would thoroughly enjoy. The exhibitions often show a digital side of art that is extremely underrepresented throughout galleries, especially in the North. No matter what your interests may be, a few hours in the FACT and you will be fascinated, entertained and educated on the topics discussed and the art they exhibit.

When visiting the exhibition, I was specifically drawn to the projected installation called Where Hold We Study, as it was displayed as two projections that overlayed each other side by side, therefore creating an almost alternate universe between the two realities displayed. Within my practice, I thoroughly enjoy creating an environment that is a hybrid between reality and virtual spaces, which explains my attraction to this installation. The audio that accompanied the visuals was very all-encompassing for me to view, and being so absorbed by the installation and the visuals created an immersive experience for me as the viewer. The merging of the two projections worked so well that the videos on either side interacted with each other intermittently creating the aforementioned alternate universe. Other specifics I enjoyed are mentioned in the Review that is linked above.

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