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‘Strange Strangers’: Opening Talk with Shuyi Cao and Leelee Chan

Jun 30, 2023
5:30 pm – 6:00 pm


10B, Wing Wah Industrial Building
Quarry Bay, Hong Kong

To open the duo exhibition ‘Strange Strangers’, join artists Shuyi Cao and Leelee Chan in a conversation moderated by curator Cusson Cheng. 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 talk will be conducted in English.

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 exhibition traces 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. ‘Strange Strangers’ aims to guide the audience through a transformed ecology that is uncannily devoid of stricture, centres, or even definitions.

About the artists and curator

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.


Cusson Cheng

Cusson Cheng is a curator and art critic from Hong Kong. As assistant curator at Para Site he has curated ‘Fanatic Heart’ (2022) and worked on exhibitions including ‘Minding the G(r)a(s)p’ (2022), ‘Noble Rot’ (2021–2022), ‘Liquid Ground’ (2021), and ‘Curtain’ (2021). He was also one of the delegates for the 2019 Para Site International Conference & Workshops for Emerging Professionals. His curatorial credits outside institutions include ‘Retrograde’ (2022) at Galerie du Monde, Hong Kong. Cheng also serves as art editor at the Hong Kong-based leading Chinese-language art periodical Art and Piece, for which he has interviewed internationally renowned artists, including Marina Abramović, Oliver Beer, Genieve Figgis, Nicolas Party, Patricia Piccinini, and Pipilotti Rist. He has contributed his writing and expertise in leading tours, including at Whitestone Gallery, Hong Kong (2022); and Perrotin, Hong Kong (2021). Cheng received his BA with Honours in comparative literature, sociology, and Buddhist studies from the University of Hong Kong.