SU-MEI TSE | Lapses of Time

8.09.11 - 12.11.11

Vertigen de la Vida (Dizziness of Life), 2011, Video, 9 mins 20 secs



On the 8th of September, 2011, the 3rd solo show of Su-Mei Tse opens at AD gallery, Athens. Tse will present a set of new works which deal with the notion of time, rhythm and breath with a certain sense of introspection, in the realms of Chambre Sourde presented in the Venice Biennale in 2003, yet tending to the theme of memories.

On the first floor, works as Trees and Roots #1, a photograph or Stille Disco, an installation of stone sculptures, are shown as "Still Lifes" seemingly frozen in time and lifeless, condemned to the past. Stille Disco brings together opposite memories and connotations, on one hand the dancing intensity of disco and on the other hand the cold stillness of the stone creating a kind of “archaeology” of our youth. Above that work, there is a signboard with the word “NOW” that rhythmically flashes on and off like a time ticking clock bringing the spectator back to reality, making us aware of our ephemeral existence on earth.

Trees and Roots #1 is the first of a series of photographs that shows trees, with their roots packed, waiting to be planted in a new environment. The composition of the images reminds that of a classical still life painting and the reversion of the colors and texture let it appear as a photographical negative, emphasizing this “still” moment in time, this fragile moment of expectation, just before being planted. The image finally raises the question of our own roots.

In the same space the work Silent Party is presented, where the artist replaces the well-known turning mirrored disco ball by three muffled megaphones. The material of the white megaphones seems to have completely absorbed the sound leaving the party silent. The "snow" megaphones also refer to the artist's interest in white noise, this audible crackling silence from a vinyl LP disc.

The new installation Time lapse, shifted, a work realized in situ gives a new direction to the sense of memory. It works in the spirit of a “déjà vu” moment, an experience that we all have experienced in our life, the experience of feeling sure that one has already witnessed a current situation, even though the exact circumstances of the previous encounter are uncertain and were perhaps imagined. The artist is interested in this surreal and uncanny moment where the boundary between present and past seems dissolved; the past presented as a platform, a photograph of the actual ground is unrolled and fading in the background…

On the second floor of the gallery the artist exhibits the video-installation Vertigen de la Vida (Dizziness of Life) realized in collaboration with Jean-Lou Majerus, shown last May at Foundació Joan Miró in Barcelona. The installation consists of 2 video-projections: one of a Merry-go-round (Carousel) that spins with its lights flashing on the rhythm of the music without any human presence and one showing the surface of a endlessly spinning vinyl record and its cracking sound of silence.

The video installation Vertigen de la Vida is a continuation of recent works that talk about a certain travel back in time and back to blurred memories. Referencing one of the first Dada movies from 1923, Man Ray’s experimental silent film Le retour à la raison, Su-Mei Tse interprets these impressions through images and sound. The three minute long movie includes some astonishing and evocative images. It consists of various animated textures, which Man Ray called “rayographs”, that he extended to moving images. In a very short scene, he included night shots of lights at a fairground. These few seconds of a moving merry-go-round (carousel) are the inspiration for Vertigen de la vida. The “remake” of this particular moment plays the main role in the video, the idea of an extended “déjà-vu” experience, an ongoing circular movement of lights, like a turning musical score moving in silence and alternating with a soundtrack.

For the music in this piece, Tse collaborated with the New York based musician and composer Giancarlo Vulcano who wrote and played the musical piece for this work, expressing the idea of blurred and intangible memories with the texture of an ongoing circular flow. White light balls replace the seats of the carousel, representing the notes of a musical score. The visualization of the score is shown as glowing white lights in the rhythm of the music. As in the video Mistelpartition (Mistle Score) from 2006, the illuminations in the score relate to the music, as if the notes/lights were singing the melody. On a screen, a second video shows an endless moving old vinyl record. The close up of the needle with the crackling sound of white noise emphasizes the atmosphere of a moment back to the past, playing the music of the dancing lights...

Su-Mei Tse’s show on both floors of the gallery functions as a very intimate party for every single one of us and aims to bring to the surface innermost memories and moments of life that can be relived.

For the realization of the exhibition, Su-Mei Tse worked with her partner Jean-Lou Majerus whom she would like to thank for his enormous commitment, patience and understanding.

Show duration 8 September – 12 November 2011

image gallery