Durian on the Skin

Curated by Gan Uyeda

Ann Greene Kelly
Brach Tiller
Candice Lin
Danica Lundy
David Douard
Gabriel Mills
Isaac Soh Fujita Howell
Joeun Kim Aatchim
Kelly Akashi
Liao Wen
Maren Karlson
Mire Lee
Rebecca Manson
Rindon Johnson
Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya
Srijon Chowdhury
Tomás Díaz Cedeño

September 17 – October 22, 2022 
François Ghebaly, Los Angeles

There was a tree growing beside the water. It stretched roots into both the land and sea, drew water and salt up into its thick, convoluted trunk. It was a durian tree in full flower, and its yellow buds were already sending out that strange and marvellous odour that might be crudely described as cat piss blended with unadulterated euphoria. I made myself as small as a worm, crawled through the tiny aperture of a barely opened bud, and coiled myself round and round its small black heart. I closed my eyes and went to sleep. In my sleep, I dreamt the flower opening, dreamt it drinking sunlight and warming my belly with the heat. Its petals dropped half onto the ground and half into the ocean. I coiled more tightly than ever around the heart. Slowly, a shell grew over me, leather-hard and spiky on the outside, but on the inside smooth, veined and sticky moist. Around me seeds grew thick, and over them a dense yellow-white flesh. As the meat grew plump, that terrible and heavenly cat-piss smell intensified to an almost unbearable degree. Sometimes I felt disgusted by it, but sometimes it comforted me. I stretched a little, readjusting my coils around the fattest seed. She knew I was coming.

Larissa Lai, Salt Fish Girl. Toronto: Thomas Allen Publishers, 2002. p.208

Durian on the Skin brings together diverse practices that center the body as a sensational hub of impulses and discharges. Pulled apart, reassembled, reimagined, and transcended, the body becomes a place for navigating mythic inheritances and preparing for a dystopian future that has already arrived. In this way, the physical senses act as a passageway, mediating between deep past and all that is to come.

Photos: Paul Salveson
Courtesy of François Ghebaly Gallery and Capsule Shanghai