In Shape of a Right Statement, Staring directly into the camera, Tsang re-performs one section of “In My Language”, a forceful address by autism rights activist Amanda Baggs. Tsang’s powerful video manifesto was shot at The Silver Platter, home to his club “Wildness”, following a year during which the artist had presented live performances of the Baggs text. Tsang mimetically reproduces the voice of Baggs’s Speech Generation Device, stating “It is only when I type something in your language that you refer to me as having communication”.
Wu Tsang’s reconstruction of the biography of the well-known Chinese revolutionary poet Qiu Jin (1875-1907) in her film Duilian, referring to both to a form of couplet poetry and to the martial art form of sword-fighting between two swordsmen, reveals Qiu’s lesser-known intimate relationship with her female friend and calligrapher Wu Zhiying. While popular narratives in novels, films and plays tend to associate Qiu Jin’s legacy with the revolutionary discourse of China in the early 20th century, Wu’s reading and portrait of Qiu’s life is situated in the trajectory of queer histories and their relative obscurity in Asia. This work sets out to question the larger ideological framework in historical accounts that give little consideration to individual experiences and conditions.
Wu Tsang is a visual artist, performer, and filmmaker. Her projects have been presented at international museums and film festivals, including the Tate Modern and ICA in London, Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), MACBA (Barcelona), Art Sonje Center (Seoul), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Hammer Museum, LACMA, and MOCA in Los Angeles. Film festivals where her work has been shown include the Berlinale Film Festival (Berlin), SANFIC (Santiago, Chile), South by Southwest Film Festival (Austin, TX) and Hot Docs Festival (Toronto). Her 2012 film Wildness premiered at MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight, and her work was also featured at the 2012 Whitney Biennial, The Ungovernables at the New Museum Triennial in New York and the 2012 Gwangju Biennial in South Korea. Tsang is a 2015 Creative Capital Fellow and 2016 Guggenheim Fellow.