Installation view of Insight Outsight by Ling-lin Ku, 2023. Photo by Leo Ng.
CUE Art Foundation presents Insight Outsight, a solo exhibition by Pittsburgh-based artist Ling-lin Ku in New York, with mentorship from Agnieszka Kurant. The exhibition playfully interrogates relationships between natural, built, and digital environments through the lens of insects. Ku’s sculpture and installation works utilize digital fabrication to generate a world that leaps between macro and micro scales, questioning familiar dichotomies between animal and human, ecology and technology, and the metaphorical and the physical.
Insight Outsight presents a playground of discovery, exploring the tensions and collaborations inherent in our turbulent digital age. The algorithmic landscapes of contemporary social worlds are in constant renegotiation, and can feel, at times, both gratifying and unsettling. Ku traces the patterns and assumptions of human digital infrastructure and behavior to notions of calculation, optimization, and rationality in insect life, creating glimpses of familiarity in a context that often feels vast, unknowable, and inaccessible.
Details of Insight Outsight, 2023. Photos by Leo Ng.
The insects that live within the exhibition are diverse and multifaceted. They slip in and out of recognition, moving between physical and digital space. They reveal themselves primarily in vignettes and fleeting encounters, resisting easy categorization and identification. Creatures sit within a scale reminiscent of vertebrae; webbed hands and feet protrude from a polygonal form; legs are affixed to circuit infrastructure; the numbers “404” are engraved onto a glitched ovoid abdomen.
Details of Insight Outsight, 2023. Photos by Leo Ng.
Ku positions the subjects of her works in ways that subtly subvert the notion of camouflage as a defense mechanism, and instead reorient it as an active, creative, and colorful process. In mapping parallels between the technological and social worlds of humans and insects, she seeks to embrace new ways of thinking about the sensations, perceptions, movements, stratagems, and patterns of organization that structure our individual and collective experiences and actions. “What do insects know that we do not? What can they tell us about the world?” asks catalogue essayist Constanza Salazar. “In this work, viewers are reminded that they belong to a larger macrocosm of diverse species life, and the anthropocentrism of humans is momentarily overturned to highlight this ecological reality.”
Insight Outsight poses key questions about the duality of intrinsic and contextual identities, prompting us to thoughtfully interrogate the role of metamorphosis in our ever-changing environments. In what ways do we render ourselves visible and invisible in these new landscapes? What kinds of shifts authentically promote our personal and societal progress? What transformations can occur when we seek to better understand our multiplicities? Drawing from references in visual art, anthropology, entomology, literature, and media theory, the exhibition invites us to rethink the ways in which we organize ourselves and to reimagine what is human in a world that can sometimes feel insufficiently so.
About the Artist
Ling-lin Ku is a visual artist currently based in Pittsburgh, PA. Her studio is a playground and an alchemy of the world. Ku plays with the space between digital data and tangible materials through digital fabrication. Her work draws from local references, including food, body parts, and products, but she recontextualizes them through proximity, scale, texture, display structures, and material, upending our relationship to the known. The work slips in and out of categorization, creating a new way in which we come to understand objecthood.
Ku’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, in cities that include Barcelona, Paris, Salzburg, New York, Richmond, Austin, Houston, and Los Angeles. She has been in residence at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in Brooklyn; the Summer Academy of Fine Arts in Salzburg; Haystack Open Studio Residency in Maine; L'AiR Atelier 11 in Paris; and 18th Street Art Center in Los Angeles. She is also a recipient of the Seebacher Prize in Fine Arts awarded by American Austrian Foundation as well as the Umlauf Extended Prize for alumni of UT Austin. In 2019, she was named a Houston Artadia Fellow. In 2021, she received an honorable mention for the International Sculpture Center’s Innovator Award. Ku received an MFA from University of Texas at Austin and a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2022, she joined the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University where she is an assistant professor at the school of art.
About the Mentor
Agnieszka Kurant (Łódź, Poland, 1978) is a conceptual artist whose work investigates collective and nonhuman intelligences, the future of labour and creativity, and the exploitations within surveillance capitalism. Kurant is the recipient of the 2020 LACMA A+T Award, the 2019 Frontier Art Prize, and the 2022 Google AMI Award. Her past exhibitions include a solo show at Castello di Rivoli (2021-22) and at Hannover Kunstverein (2023); a commission for the façade of the Guggenheim Museum, New York (2015); a permanent commission for the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA; a solo show at the Sculpture Center (2013); and the Polish Pavilion at the 12th Venice Biennale of Architecture (with A. Wasilkowska, 2010). Her work was featured in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Pompidou Center, Paris; the Istanbul Biennial; SFMOMA; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Guggenheim Bilbao; CAPC Bordeaux; Kunsthalle Wien; Witte de With, Rotterdam; Moderna Museet, Malmö; GAMeC, Bergamo; Whitechapel Gallery, London; The Kitchen, New York; Triennale di Milano; the de Young Museum, San Francisco; Frieze Projects; Performa Biennial; and ZKM, Karlsruhe. Kurant was an Artist Fellow at the Berggruen Institute (2019-21), a visiting artist at MIT CAST (2018-2019), and a fellow at the Smithsonian Institute (2018).
About the Exhibition
Mentor: Agnieszka Kurant
Dates: November 9 – December 22, 2023
Wednesday – Saturday, 12–6 pm
Venue: CUE Art Foundation
Address: 137 W. 25th Street, Ground Floor, Between 6th and 7th Avenues New York, NY 10001
Courtesy of CUE Art Foundation.