Paul Chan: Breathers
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Nov 17, 2022 – Jul 16, 2023
New York–based artist, writer, and publisher Paul Chan (b. 1973, Hong Kong) came to prominence in the early 2000s with vibrant moving image works that touched upon aspects of war, religion, pleasure, and politics. Around 2009, following a decade of art-making, Chan embarked on a self-imposed break, turning his attention to experimental publishing and the economics of information by founding the press Badlands Unlimited. Taking the notion of a “breather” as its organizing principle, this exhibition surveys Chan’s activities since his voluntary break from that point to the present.
Paul Chan: Breathers opens with Nonprojections and Arguments, two series that explore the possibilities of the moving image beyond its primary place of the screen or projection. Language, design, and networks of circulation are examined through the radical publications produced by Badlands Unlimited, which include paperbacks, e-books, zines, GIFs, and books on stone tablets in genres such as erotic fiction, artists’ writings, and poetry. Finally, the presentation showcases a new series of kinetic sculptures entitled the Breathers. These fan-powered billowing fabric bodies, which move in a free-form choreography in the gallery, are described by Chan as “animated by breath.”
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