Cherish is pleased to present ‘Among Us’, a solo exhibition of our first resident artist, Shuang Li. Featuring new works, ranging from sculpture to installation, Li created onsite during the past 3 months, the exhibition expands her investigations of reproductive labor, biopolitics and sexuality.
The title ‘Among Us’ is taken from a space-themed online multiplayer video game which achieved a large following during the global lockdown. The exhibition turns the rooms into a playground, or a battlefield, inhabited by unknown playful creatures. This project is informed by the artist’s desires and affections, echoing the era of the Chinese One Child Policy that marked her childhood. Where advertisements for abortion (promoted as painless and trivial) stood in for the absence of contraceptive promotion. Li sees this as an inverse reflection of abortion bans throughout the world. Both speak to similar structural disregards for female bodies. With these works, Li combines two frameworks through which sexuality studied - the biopolitical Foucault, where the assumed goal of sexual reproduction is read as a mechanism of discipline by the state, and the ‘pharmacopornographic era’ coined by Paul B. Preciado as ‘orgasmic force’, specifically “the real or virtual strength of a body's total excitation” that has been hijacked into the hyper production and circulation of late capitalism.
Known for her ambitious, yet nuanced, video installations, this new body of work, produced at Cherish, sees Li turn towards a different sort of materiality and physicality. Li’s rural upbringing reflects a struggle to escape not only immediate surroundings but also one's own body. Having spent most of her youth with books, video games, emo music, Myspace, Youtube (it was pre-firewall time in China); she is hypersensitive to media, echoed in her degree in media studies. In her video works, images of human characters or figures are barely visible, but always lead the narrative, through voice over or through 3D animations of body parts or nature. Analogous to the highly mediated world we live in, I Want to Sleep More but by Your Side, narrates a fictional online romance between a French mother and a young Chinese boy working in a yellow vest factory, through the lense of a drone acting as an unknown being that is struggling to form its own shape.
The works in the show may speak of various stories alone, but are inspired by the children’s section in the cemetery in Petit-lancy, Geneva. The liveliness that comes with dolls and teddy bears decorating tombstones forms a bleak contrast with what they represent to the living. Li once used Google Translate to read the French epitaphs. One of the translations read, "When you watch it Sky at night since I will live can I go in one of the stars. So this will be for you. JMom and Dad.” These sentences don’t make sense, yet somehow, they don’t need to. She’d like to think that’s how her work functions as well.
Shuang Li has had solo exhibitions at Peres Projects, Berlin; Callie’s, Berlin; Open Forum, Berlin; and SLEEPCENTER, New York, and has participated in numerous institutional exhibitions including OCAT x KADIST Foundation, Shanghai; UCCA Dune, Qinhuangdao; X Museum Triennial, Beijing; Kunstverein Bielefeld, Bielefeld; Times Museum, Guangzhou; Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong; Centre Pompidou in collaboration with the Mao Jihong Foundation, Chengdu; Taikang Space, Beijing; Flux Factory, New York; ‘You Won’t be Young Forever’ curated by Biljana Ciric, Shanghai; K11 art foundation, Shanghai; and at Oberlin College, Oberlin.
Shuang Li's residency and exhibition was made possible with the support of ProHelvetia Shanghai, Swiss Arts Council.