Strange Strangers

Jul 2, 2023 – Aug 13, 2023
10B, Wing Wah Industrial Bldg.
677 King's Road
Quarry Bay
Hong Kong
Opening Reception
Jun 30

Para Site is delighted to present ‘Strange Strangers’ as the second exhibition in its new tenth-floor annex. The duo exhibition curated by Cusson Cheng will showcase commissioned and existing sculptures by New York-based Chinese artist Shuyi Cao and Hong Kong artist Leelee Chan.

Taking the concept of ‘strange strangers’, which philosopher and ecologist Timothy Morton defines as ambiguous beings that study and challenge the paradox and fissures of identity, the two artists trace the flows and formative processes of matter to envision a queer ecology where one may relate to a collective of beings in a planetary approach. Cao’s stoneware, glass, and resin works unravel intimacies and kinships across a myriad networked life forms, summoning ontologies that wander between substances, residues, and impurities. Meanwhile, Chan’s enigmatic sculptures incorporate and transform urban detritus, ancient artefacts, as well as natural and industrial material to accentuate the in-becoming nature of materials and to experiment with logic and patterns beyond an anthropocentric worldview. Despite distinct formal presentations and differing approaches to materiality, the artists’ creations, including site-specific spatial interventions, coexist in the exhibition space as an ecosystem that transcends binaries of organic and inorganic, primordial and advanced.

The exhibition visual identity created by London-based Hong Kong designer Fibi Kung makes use of 3D renderings that mirror the texture and motifs of the sculptures on view, visualising manifold modes of ecological thinking. In addition, there is also an olfactory experience with three scents provided by Aēsop over the course of the six-week exhibition period; the change of scent every two weeks activates three distinct viewing experiences vis-a-vis how one relates to and interacts with the other ‘life forms’ in the exhibition environment. Ultimately, ‘Strange Strangers’ aims to guide the audience through a transformed ecology that is uncannily devoid of stricture, centres, or even definitions.

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About the Artists

Shuyi Cao

The practice of Shuyi Cao (b. 1990, Guangzhou; lives and works in New York) explores alchemical approaches to object making and knowledge osmosis. Through archeological speculation and ecological fiction, she contemplates the plurality of relations between technoscience, mythology, and cosmology. Her multi-medium installations synthesise various organic and inorganic materials, and natural and artificial processes. Combining hand-crafted and digital artefacts, moving images, and sounds, the assemblages suggest heterogeneous material temporalities. She has exhibited internationally including at NARS Art Foundation, New York (2021); Power Station of Art, Shanghai (2021); and MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA (2018). She is the recipient of the Today Art Museum Wang Shikuo Nomination Award, The New School Tishman Environment and Design Center Research Grant, and MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists Grant. She is an assistant professor at Pratt Institute and adjunct faculty at Parsons School of Design. She received her MFA from Parsons School of Design, New York, and her MPA and LLB from Fudan University, Shanghai.


Leelee Chan

Leelee Chan (b. 1984, Hong Kong; lives and works in Hong Kong) makes enigmatic sculptures that incorporate urban debris, ancient artefacts, natural materials, and industrial products, generating visual paradoxes in which these objects move seamlessly between past, present, and future. Reflecting the shifting urban fabric in her immediate surroundings in Hong Kong, Chan’s sculptures undergo an elaborate transformation through tactile experimentation with materials and processes. The artist pushes the limits of her objects’ physicality and expands the possibilities of the language of abstraction. In 2020, Chan was the recipient of the ninth BMW Art Journey. She’s participated in exhibitions including at Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong (2021, 2018); Para Site, Hong Kong (2021); Skulpturen Park Köln, Cologne (2020); and UCCA Dune, Beidaihe (2019). Chan’s work is in the permanent collections of M+, Hong Kong; Skulpturen Park Köln, Cologne; and Kadist Art Foundation, Paris and San Francisco. Chan received her MFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and her BFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago.



Installation views

Exhibition Catalogue