Soft and Weak Like Water
Curated by Artistic Director Sook-Kyung Lee, Associate Curator
Kerryn Greenberg, and Assistant Curators Sooyoung Leam and Harry C. H. Choi
7 April ~ 9 July 2023
Gwangju, South Korea
Charwei Tsai’s multimedia practice meditates on the complexities among cultural beliefs, spirituality, and transience. The 14th Gwangju Biennale brings together two significant bodies of Tsai’s work, Spiral Incence Mantra – Hear Sutra, 2023, is composed of spirals of incense that are custom made by a family-owned incense factory in Tainan, on e of the oldest regions in the south of Taiwan. Passages from the Heart Sutra – a Buddhist scripture that distills the wisdom of impermanence – are inscribed on the incense spirals, which are suspended in midair. The idea that they can be lit and gradually transformed into smoke and ashes signals the Buddhist concept of emptiness. Works from A Temple, A Shrine, A Mosque, A Church series, 2022 consist of khoos, handwoven palm leaves that were traditionally used for household objects. They are hand-inscribed with verses from female Sufi poets. Tsai conceived the project in collaboration with Al Ghadeer UAE Crafts in Abu Dhabi to honor the women of the local community and their knowledge of working with local frats using natural materials from the region.
Special thanks to: Natasa Petresin-Belechez, Art Dubai, Al Ghadeer UAE Crafts, Jau-lan Guo, Wei-lun Chen, Guan-Wei Lin, Hsuan-Chiao Wang, Chao-Yu Tseng, and Pei-Cen Lin