Angela Su

Born in Hong Kong

Angela Su received a degree in Biochemistry from University of Toronto, Canada in 1990 before she pursued and graduated with a degree in Visual Arts from Ontario College of Art and Design University, Canada in 1994.

In 2002, Su had her first solo exhibition “De Humani Corporis Fabrica” at Goethe-Institut Hong Kong. She has also participated in group exhibitions including “Time Test: International Video Art Research Exhibition” (CAFA Art Museum, China, 2016), “17th Biennale of Sydney” (Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia, 2010), “Hong Kong Eye” (Saatchi Gallery, UK, 2012), “Departure” (He Xiangning Art Museum, China, 2009), “Reversing Horizons” (Museum of Contemporary Art, China, 2007) and “Shenzhen Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism” (OCT Shenzhen, China, 2007). Her works is collected by M+ Museum in Hong Kong and CAFA Art Museum in China. Su currently lives and works in Hong Kong.

About the practice
Educated as an anatomist, Su’s diverse practice covers a range of media: ink drawing, embroidery, video, photography and performance. Just as her life traverses the academic division between the sciences and the humanities, her works often questions the body/machine dualism and challenges the Cartesian dichotomy of mind and body. Her works draw on the ideas of beauty, suffering of the physical body and freedom of the soul, as they echo the Buddhist doctrine stating that desire is the root of suffering.

Revolving around the theme of biomorphic forms of plants, insects and human bodies, Su’s ink and embroidery works resemble classical anatomical drawings. Highly technical, meticulously executed and finely polished, her works live in a surreal blending of scientific precision and mythical imagination, where new forms and unique expressions are born out of a fusion of the rational and the unconscious.

About Armillaria Mellea
The embroidery was commissioned by Para Site for the exhibition “Ten Million Rooms of Yearning. Sex in Hong Kong” (2014). It was meant to suggest curtains used in massage parlour cubicles. Named after the honey fungus, Armillaira Mellea is a symbol of virility, reproducibility and fecundity.

About Chimeric Antibodies
The composition of the Chimeric Antibodies series of drawings is inspired by ancient or alchemical imagination of energy flow and structures of molecules. Each drawing is a mixture of human body parts, machines and other organic constructions. The artist with her surreal ink pen is similar to an alchemist, transforming metals into gold, and mortals into immortals.
Exhibition details of "ASIA NOW: Paris Asian Art Fair 2016" (20 - 23.10.2016)

About Mesures et Démesures
Su's video work Mesures et Démesures begins with photos of lunatic asylums, Jean-Martin Charcot’s patients affected with hysteria and Cesare Lombroso’s archetypal criminals. Charcot used photography as a tool in his classification and diagnosis of hysteria, a socially constructed disease that led to misuses of medical care and unjustified discrimination. On the other hand, Cesare Lombroso who belonged to the Italian school of anthropological criminology, suggested that criminals were distinguished from non-criminals by multiple physical anomalies. In such cases the human body’s measurement becomes intrusive and inescapable, a justification of judgement and condemnation.

The narrative then meanders further through another popular practice at the timespirit photography (Lombroso curiously became an ardent believer of mediumship and spiritualism later in his life), and ultimately leads us to an unexpected turn with snapshots of tear gas, riots and mugshots of anarchists.

The video questions the construction of the ‘norm’ and subtly prompts the audience to contemplate the political abuse of psychiatry, such as the practice of incarceration of political dissidents in mental hospitals, and the attempt of social and individual control through psychiatry. Madness is the disease affecting anyone who lives in her/his own world, anyone who has an opinion which is different from others’. Collective madness is sanity. Whether these people pose real danger or not depends on one’s perspective: social and political norms derived from science and conventions, the majority's moral power and hierarchical power relations that are all constantly in flux.

About We are standing in the spiral under a hammer
TThis piece made from hair originates from an inkblot pattern of the Rorschach test. The original pattern eventually evolved into an organic form suggesting at the same time the human body, vegetal forms and animal shapes. All these dimensions are intimately merged and form an original pattern, be it futurist, primitive or fantasised. This new ‘creature’ could be perceived as an attempt to transgress all norms and to escape their narrow views.

Exhibition details of "The Human Body: Measure and Norms" (5.12.2015 - 6.2.2016)

Artist Biography

Press coverage (Artomity, 7.10.2016)