Frieze New York 2023
Capsule Shanghai, Booth F7

2023.5.17- 5.21
The Shed, New York City

Capsule Shanghai is pleased to participate in the Frame section of Frieze New York with Liao Wen’s (b. 1994 in Chengdu; lives and works in Hong Kong) solo project "Naked", featuring her latest free-standing sculptures and wall reliefs. Through her reproduction of bodily experience, Liao Wen's work reflects the critical state of the mind and the fragile and tenacious nature of life. In the new body of works on view at Frieze NY, she expands her exploration of the body inward to the subtle activities deep beneath the skin, and outward to its social and cultural implications. Liao integrates her research on human physiological activity, body posture, and their social significance with analyses of relevant works in art history. Through her unique sculptural language, she reflects on the body as the origin of our perception, contemplating how its sensory and behavioral workings are veiled under the everyday, and how its potential is activated in certain circumstances, becoming a channel for revolt against discipline and a carrier for introspection.

Four reliefs from the "Sensation" series (2023) are installed at different heights on the wall, corresponding to the height of the respective body parts depicted in the works. Inspired by ancient Roman anatomical votive statues[1]and deeply affected by pandemic-related restrictions, Liao Wen furthers her longtime exploration of the body as an object, and the pain and violence inflicted on it, which was first materialized in her earliest experimental sculptural series, "The Flesh Store" (2018-2020): Lucid awareness of the body is often a result of physiological stimulation or injury. In the absence of pain and suppression, how do we perceive the body's presence in everyday life?

In the "Sensation" series, Liao Wen materializes easily neglected bodily activities such as breathing, excretion, and vomiting through her poetic sculptural language. Compared to the straightforward representation of the body in pain in "The Flesh Store", the "Sensation" series is airy and humorous. These works evoke Marcel Duchamp's mental game in Why Not Sneeze Rose Sélavy? (1921): bodily perception, objects, and words interact to create an intricate synesthetic experience. In Throw up (2023), the metal ring tightens around the torso like a waistband, seemingly squeezing the intracorporal substance upward.Liao Wen deftly uses epoxy resin and jesmonite to represent the textual nuances of the substance. The steel wire stretched at the top suggests the futility of suppressing vomiting. Swallow (2023) captures the motion of swallowing out of thirst. The acid lemony yellow stimulates salivary secretion through a synesthetic reaction, while the curled "tongue" and wrinkled "throat" vividly induce the sensation of thirst and the act of swallowing. Just as “the answer to the question ‘Why not sneeze?’ is simply that you can't sneeze at will”[2], Liao Wen’s depiction of involuntary physiological instincts strips the human body down to its essence – the origin of perception.

The significance of bodily perception lies in its capacity for transmitting internal and external signals otherwise blocked by the skin, enabling humans to communicate and coexist with the world beyond the capsule of our flesh. Two large free-standing sculptures at the booth shift the perspective outside of the body, focusing on the body's response to external gaze and events. Using the same approach as the earlier "Almost Collapsing Balance" (2020-) series, the artist channels her experience of making and performing with marionettes into her sculptures to encompass flexible joints and detachable appendages. Mechanical limits between the joints incarnate a critical state of the mind, granting the sculptures a balanced structure and a static momentum. The new works are carved from larger pieces of lumber, which increases their weight and subsequently the pressure between the joints, while providing a larger “canvas” to engrave a picture of strength and vitality. Both elements charge the sculptures with heightened tension.

Stare (2022) depicts a figure examining her own body. She stands on tiptoe to observe her excreta, creating a bizarre sense of intimacy. The shock and uneasiness caused by this predicament of intimacy peak when the work is presented in the public environment of the fair. The peephole in the wall of the booth directs the viewers’ eyes to the sculpture, providing a voyeuristic perspective. The viewers' gaze meets her upward-looking empty eyes, adding another dimension to the work. The posture can be associated with a mundane yet secretive moment, or a standing birth posture, and can also be interpreted as erotic or even defiant. By evoking a complexity of feelings, Liao Wen invites viewers to rethink when the body stops being a natural organism and becomes inevitably bound to societal norms and values.

In Headwind (2023), the figure ferociously resists against an invisible force that seems to be suppressing, twisting and deforming their body. Their head and limbs deviate extensively from the body's natural axis, creating a strong sense of motion. The technical challenge the artist encountered while creating the work is also what she invites viewers to consider on a metaphysical level: How to maintain stability and balance in extreme movement and change?

The works on view investigate movement and transformation on formal and conceptual levels. Similar to the Italian Futurist artists who valued the potential for transformation in machine and motion, Liao Wen, through her reconstruction of bodily movement, reflects on the ability and desire for change inherent in human nature. The slender and elegant sculptural forms of her earlier works have also morphed into a more straightforward, daring and potent visual language. The "Sensation" series shed the spotlight on the otherwise overlooked micro-activities inside the body, revealing the ever-changing internal universe and its resonance with the external world. Stare and Headwind fearlessly twist their figures into extraordinary postures. In movement we transform; through self-transformation, we strive to change the circumstances. We use our bodies to respond to reality and challenge norms. We walk into the irreversible river of life with a gesture of freedom.

[1] The ancient Romans customarily offered votive sculptures in the shape of body parts (often those in need of healing) to their gods, in the hope of receiving a cure.

[2] Marcel Duchamp made the seemingly obvious yet utterly inspiring comment during a French television interview in 1963, shedding light on the mysterious title of his work Why Not Sneeze Rose Sélavy? Reference: Arturo Schwarz, The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp, revised and expanded edition, New York 1997, pp.690-1, reproduced.

胶囊上海荣幸宣布于2023年纽约弗里兹艺术博览会(Frieze New York)的Frame单元中呈现廖雯(1994年生于成都,现生活和工作于香港)的个展“赤裸裸”,呈现她最新创作的圆雕和浮雕。长期以来,廖雯的创作通过重现身体的经验来表现精神的临界状态和生命的脆弱与顽强。在本次展出的新作品中,她将对身体关注的维度向内延伸至肌体深处的微妙活动,向外扩展至其社会文化含义。在创作过程中,她将对于人的生理活动、身体姿态及其社会意义的研究,以及艺术史中相关作品的分析,与她独特的雕塑语言相结合,由此思考身体作为我们感知的原点,其知觉和行为方式是如何隐匿于日常之中,其潜能又在何种情境下被激发,成为反抗规训的通道,成为反思的载体。


在《感知》系列雕塑中,廖雯用诗意的雕塑语言将呼吸、排泄、呕吐等易被忽视的身体基本活动具像化。相较于《肉铺》中对疼痛肉体的直白展露,《感知》系列是轻松幽默的。这些作品让人想起马歇尔·杜尚在《Why Not Sneeze, Rose Sélavy?》(1921)中进行的游戏:身体知觉、物体和词句在作品中汇聚并发生了微妙的通感反应。在《呕吐》(2023)中,金属圆环如腰带般勒紧躯干,仿佛将体内物质向上挤压。廖雯细腻地使用环氧树脂和水磨石呈现了呕吐物的差别。顶部勒紧的钢丝,则暗示了抑制呕吐的徒劳。《吞咽》(2023)表现了因口渴而吞咽唾液的瞬间。醒目的明亮柠檬黄以联觉的方式刺激唾液的分泌,蜷曲的“舌头”和带有褶皱的“喉部”则生动地唤起口渴的感知和吞咽的动作。正如打喷嚏的行为不受人的意愿支配2,廖雯所关注的人体自发的本能反应将身体回归至其最原始而本质的属性,即感知的生发处。





1 在古希腊和古罗马时期,还愿塑像有时被制成仿真的人体部位的形式,并供奉给神灵,用以祈祷受伤病困扰的身体得以康复。

2 马歇尔·杜尚于1963年接受法国某电视台采访时说道:“为何不打个喷嚏?很简单,因为人根本无法凭自己的意愿打喷嚏!”这句简单却耐人寻味的话为其作品《何不打个喷嚏,萝丝·萨拉薇?》(Why Not Sneeze Rose Sélavy?)令人费解的标题提供了些许注释。参考资料:Arturo Schwarz, The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp, revised and expanded edition, New York 1997, pp.690-1, reproduced.