To prepare her pavilion in Venice, Hong Kong artist Angela Su is watching a documentary on the Ukrainian revolution


Each week leading up to the 59th Venice Biennale in April, Artnet News takes you inside an artist’s studio as they prepare for acclaimed exhibitions in and around the Giardini.

This week’s announcement of relaxation of some coronavirus-related travel restrictions in Hong Kong may have lifted the spirits of the city as a whole, including that of artist Angela Su, who has kept a low profile as the city is hit by the wave toughest part of the pandemic to date, preparing for her upcoming solo exhibition, “Arise, Hong Kong in Venice,” a side event at the Venice Biennale.

Born in Hong Kong in 1958, the acclaimed artist studied biochemistry in Canada before venturing into the art world, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that her practice revolves around inquiry. based on research that comment on and question the biomedical discourse and the impact of technology, but also metamorphosis and transformation of the body. Her works, which have been exhibited worldwide, span a range of media, from hair embroidery to video, performance and installation.

His upcoming show in Venice, co-presented by the publicly funded M+ museum and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, is no exception. Curated by independent curator Freya Chou, in collaboration with consultant curator Ying Kwok, who is currently senior curator at Tai Kwun in Hong Kong, the exhibition will feature a pseudo-documentary titled Lauren O’s Gorgeous Levitation Act as its centerpiece. He invites the audience into an imaginary world that reflects the precarious times in which we collectively live.

Artnet News caught up with Su while she was in Venice preparing for her major exhibition, to talk about creating art in these times of chaos and uncertainty.

Performance photo for video Lauren O’s Gorgeous Levitation Act by Angela Su. Courtesy of the artist and the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority.

What is the most essential object in your studio and why can’t you do without it?

Snacks. Lots of snacks to de-stress. I have never nibbled so much in my entire life.

Angela Su says she nibbled a lot while preparing for her exhibition in Venice.  Courtesy of the artist.

Angela Su says she nibbled a lot while preparing for her exhibition in Venice. Courtesy of the artist.

When it comes to planning your city’s exhibition in Venice, which studio task on the agenda this week are you most looking forward to?

The most exciting thing is to observe how the ideas come to life on the spot. The heroes are the architect and the contractors who work tirelessly day and night in such a short time despite all the unexpected setbacks. Hats off to everyone.

What has been the biggest challenge so far as you prepare for the Venice Biennale?

What to bring in my suitcase. How to wear the same clothes every day without looking alike?

Is there a photo you can send us of your work in progress?

Angela Su is working on opening her exhibition this spring in Venice.  Courtesy of the artist.

Angela Su is working on opening her exhibition this spring in Venice. Courtesy of the artist.

When you feel stuck while preparing for a show, what do you do to get out of it?

I get drunk, watch a shitty movie and fall asleep.

What trait do you most admire in a work of art? What trait do you despise the most?

I admire works that take risks. These are works that give me goosebumps. Sometimes I lose interest in a work once I start to understand it, but there are some intriguing works that I come back to again and again. I’m not interested in opportunistic, derivative, overly perfect or overly calculated works.

What do you watch while you work?

A white wall.

Angela Su, work in progress.

Architect and contractors assistant Angela Su in Venice. Courtesy of the artist.

What is a film, writing or other work of art that inspired you the most in preparation for Venice?

winter on fire (A Netflix documentary about Ukraine revolution 2014). The first time I watched it was in 2019 and I saw it again in March of this year before coming to Venice. It makes me wonder if what I’m doing is relevant or not as the world is on the brink of collapse. If I had to live my life again, I would learn to shoot a gun, farm and learn all the survival skills needed to live in this crazy world.

Where is your favorite place to eat, drink or take a break in Venice?

It would be any place I can get an Aperol spritz. Strolling along the Grand Canal at sunset when there are no tourists is the most relaxing thing to do.

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