Tishan Hsu


October 21, 2021 — January 15, 2022
88 Eldridge Street



Every technology is stamped with a singular mode of presence to the world, and constitutes a way of making it consist locally; it is at once cosmomorphic and ethopoïetic. In other words: it is understandable only in its relation with a form of life.
– Junius Frey

Miguel Abreu Gallery is pleased to announce the opening, on Thursday, October 21st, of Tishan Hsu’s skin-screen-grass, his first solo exhibition at the gallery. The show will be held at our 88 Eldridge Street location.

Over the last three years, with increasing focus and intensity, Tishan Hsu’s art has taken a turn towards exploring the vast possibilities of image production today, and how to introduce this all pervasive force into his work. With the steady development of ever more sophisticated image processing software, and quasi limitless access to photographic sources and electronic imagery afforded by new high resolution databases, Hsu’s palette has expanded exponentially to include a set of tools particularly well suited to engage with the concerns underlying his work since the beginning: How does the screen world affect cognition and our relation to our bodies? How can art channel omnipresent technological effects and reveal their immanent affective content? In other words, what kind of artistic forms might truthfully render this increasingly potent and palpable state of biomorphic affairs?

From the legacy of Minimalist presence and objecthood to the unbounded absorptive powers of screen imagery, illusionistic space, and interactivity, Hsu’s practice – perhaps more than any other artist working today – traces the vertiginous evolution from the affirmed contours of the specific object to the unstable shapes and liquified figurative fragments populating his new works. “So on the one hand,” Hsu has stated, “the work is recognizing itself as this object and at the same time there is an illusionary aspect, but that illusionary world is responding to the object, not another world.” This paradoxical problematic remains at the core of the artist’s output.

With remarkable subtlety, Hsu suspends established definitions of the traditional mediums of painting and sculpture by integrating unlikely materials and combining innovative fabrication techniques to achieve these haunting new works. In Watching 1, for instance, the composition brings together a frieze of surveillance footage from a recent Black Lives Matter protest and a screen image of closed eyes, situated within an all-over motif of warped architectural screen layered on top of what looks like human skin. Strange relief surface effects made with silicone erupt out of the smooth picture plane, distending the work’s sense of a structurally self-contained or uncorrupted body.

The exhibition features paintings, sculptures, drawings, and Grass-Screen-Skin: New York, a large-scale wall piece that leads to an external video.

Tishan Hsu (b. 1951, Boston) studied environmental design and architecture at MIT and received his BSAD in 1973 and M.Arch in 1975. He moved to New York in 1979, where he currently resides. His first exhibition in New York was at Pat Hearn Gallery, and in 1987, he had a one-person show at Leo Castelli. Since the mid-1980s, he has shown extensively in the United States, Europe, and Mexico. Tishan Hsu: Liquid Circuit, his first survey exhibition in the United States, curated by Sohrab Mohebbi, was held at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2020) and SculptureCenter, New York (2020–21). Hsu’s work was included in the 13th Gwangju Biennale, Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning (2021). Selected public collections include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt am Main; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; High Museum, Atlanta; Terra Museum, Mexico City; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami; The Rubell Family Collection, Miami; and the Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis.