Wu Chi-Tsung, Dust – Site Gallery

Text by Tim Barnes.

Taiwanese artist Wu Chi-Tsung illuminates a minuscule and delicate world of debris adrift within our own spaces. The suspended dust acts like an everyday material from which a readymade could be articulated, as it usually only inhabits the gaps between the things we find aesthetically interesting. This installation however repositions dust on a loftier pedestal, transforming these minute ruins into a spectacular cosmos of beautiful detritus.

A playful transaction between camera and projector observe a gallery space teeming with an elusive, yet omnipresent sculptural material. Each particle of dust makes a fleeting appearance and dissolves back into thin air. These luminous moments are conjured by a carefully positioned high definition camera that films down a projector’s beam. The dust particles that move between these points in the focussed light are projected onto a gallery wall and in the darkened space it becomes an interactive display.

The air stirs as visitors walk around the installation and their movement affects the way in which the dust scatters and glides in the projection, giving the artwork an energetic and immersive quality.

A second installation, ‘Crystal City 003’, is an assemblage of transparent plastic boxes and packaging arranged on the floor as a miniature cityscape. However this static scene is given a much more exciting and dynamic presence. A tracking light moves on a rail through the boxes and casts their sprawling shadows across the gallery walls, giving a realistic illusion of movement in the foreground and distance, as though commuting through an imaginary urban space. 

Engaged in a playful practice, Wu Chi-Tsung himself perhaps becomes enmeshed into his own work, displaying an ability to create something remarkable from the residue of human activity, weaving between the mysterious polarities of presence and absence, the extraordinary and the commonplace. Perhaps it’s with some sort of techno-shamanic power that, by a relatively simple creative act, he is able to transform ordinary profane matter into something that transcends language and logic. Using technology to make the invisible visible, a simple magic that reveals secrets that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Both Installations allow very ordinary materials to make extraordinary transformations and to the visitor, this is felt rather than learned. These simple installations that feel quite child-like and spontaneous, have an ability to affect us in a very profound or delightful way. Wu Chi-Tsung perhaps uses these artworks as bridges to allow his audience to experience, at close quarters, something larger or more authentic than themselves.

Dust is part of the Yorkshire Festival 2014.

Following his residency in 2006, Wu Chi-Tsung returns to Site Gallery with a programme of events including reading groups, meditation workshops and curator-led exhibition tours.

Tim Barnes is an artist and writer from Sheffield.

Published 06.05.2014 by Ali Gunn in Reviews

454 words