Ballon Rouge is pleased to present a solo exhibition of works by Taiwan-born, Ghent-based artist Pei-Hsuan Wang at Art Brussels 2023. Wang has exhibited work at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Hong-Gah Museum, Taipei, and the National Gallery of Indonesia, among others. Recent solo exhibitions include Ghost Eat Mud at Kunsthal Gent, Ghent (2022), I've Left My Body to Occupy Others at Good Weather, Chicago (2020), For Iris at Gallery 456, New York (2020), and You Are My Sunshine at Taipei Contemporary Art Center (2019). She has a forthcoming solo with Ballon Rouge in September of this year.
For Art Brussels she has titled her presentation “Statues of Asking.” As is typical of Wang’s works, her practice is rooted in ways of engaging with her identity. Much of this centers on her and her family's diasporic migration from Taiwan to the US. Her work also explores her relationship with the women in her life; takes inspiration from ancient Chinese and East Asian myths and folklore, and plays with the idea of shapeshifting. From her grandmother, the matriarch of the family, whose fruit farm in Taiwan becomes a metaphor for propagation and nurturing in her work - to the relationship she has with her niece Iris, who is first generation Taiwanese-American and biracial - with an East Asian mother and white father. In Wang’s work Iris becomes a kind of doppelganger to the artist as well as a representation of the relationship between whiteness and desirability, and whiteness as aspiration.
The intricate drawings on paper that will be presented come from her drawing series titled Miniatures which solicits an allegorical reading. Recurring central figures include the artist and her niece Iris, featured conducting ambiguous activities and accompanied by mystical objects and creatures in magnificent settings. Multi-point perspective suggests nonlinear plotlines, convoluted by decorative layering of details and symbols. Then there is the drawing titled Hounds of Love, a reference to shapeshifting and self-portraiture, and Mother and Lychee Tree, a tribute to her mother and her grandmother, and her matrilineal heritage. Her family becomes mythical, symbolic.
Then there are five sculptures presented atop their crates. These sculptures, Statue of Asking: Threshold Guardian I & II, Turtle (Tortoise Who Held Up the Sky), Rabbit, and Monkey, are representative of her parsing of folklore, morphologies, shapeshifting, symbolism, and metaphors - each with their own specific references and stories. For example, Turtle (Tortoise Who Held Up the Sky) is an homage to the giant tortoise in the myth Nuwa Mending The Sky, a story in which the tortoise lifted up the sky with his legs. When viewed with Rabbit, it harkens to the story of The Tortoise and the Hare. And additionally, when viewed with Monkey, alludes to the Filipino folktale The Monkey and the Turtle. They rest on their crates as a representation of a sense of (transnational) movement and in-transit-ness, paired with a sense of pragmatism and humility, endurance, and much care. Each box custom made by the artist and exhibits all the marks and wears from its travels.
In Wang’s practice everything is interwoven and meaningful - thought-through. Personal history is entwined with ancient folklore, creating a unique aesthetic and perspective, an invitation into her world.