Tai Kwun Contemporary presents "Green Snake" featuring women-centred ecologies

TEXT:CAFA ART INFO    DATE: 2023.12.15

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Tai Kwun Contemporary presents Green Snake: women-centred ecologies, a group exhibition pointing to the extractive economies at the root of our ecological crises, which treat nature as reserves of resources for exploitation. The exhibition asks what alternative narratives are activated through artists' visions that celebrate nature as an all-encompassing and generative force — many of them grounded in notions of care and interrelationship that are central to ecofeminism. The labour of care is essential to the reproduction of existence: this has been undervalued in articulated patriarchal and imperial systems across broad geographies. Green Snake presents works by artists drawing on and revitalising diverse cosmological systems in relation to ecology and women-centred knowledge.

On view from 20 December 2023 to 1 April 2024 and curated by Kathryn Weir and Xue Tan, with assistant curators Tiffany Leung and Pietro Scammacca, Green Snake: women-centred ecologies gathers more than 30 artists and collectives from 20 countries, presenting over 60 works of which 16 are new productions specially commissioned for the exhibition.

The exhibition title refers both to the celebrated ancient Chinese folktale about two demon sisters, White Snake and Green Snake, and to mythological serpentine figures across cultures that are associated with nature's capacity to shed skins, transform and re-awaken. In the eighth-century folktale Madame White Snake, the sister figure of Green Snake strongly represents women's  agency, sisterhood and also gender fluidity — and has been widely reinterpreted in contemporary literature and cinema. At another level, in the exhibition, the snake's sinuous curves echo the  2 geomorphology of river systems and the vital energy of the water flowing through them. A series of artists in the exhibition have longstanding research interests in specific river ecosystems and in their associated mythologies. Dialogues between works rooted in different geographies testify to parallel struggles and to parallel practices of empathy and care for non-human existence. The figure of an all-encompassing circle of planetary and cosmic renewal emerges in a symphonic call for a radical reorientation of the human within the whole. 

Curated by: Kathryn Weir and Xue Tan, with assistant curators Tiffany Leung and Pietro Scammacca 

About the curators:

Kathryn Weir is a curator, writer and art historian based in Paris. She is the co-artistic director of the Lagos Biennial 2024 and teaches curatorial studies at the Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome. Previously artistic director of the MADRE contemporary art museum in Naples and before that director of multidisciplinary programs at the Centre Pompidou, she also founded Cosmopolis in 2015, a platform for research-based, socially engaged, and collaborative practices across broad geographies. From 2006 to 14, at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA),  Brisbane, she was chief curator of international art, directed the Australian Cinémathèque, and was a member of the curatorium of the 5th, 6th and 7th Asia Pacific Triennials, as well as leading the major project “21st Century: art in the first decade” (2010–2011). Her curatorial and writing practice engages with critical thinking on gender, technology, race, class and political ecology. 

Xue Tan is Senior Curator of Tai Kwun, she joined Tai Kwun Contemporary since its inception in 2015. Her recent curatorial projects include Maria Hassabi: I'll Be Your Mirror (2023), Pan Daijing: Echo, Moss and Spill (2021), Tino Sehgal (2021), trust & confusion (2021), Francis Alys, Wet  feet_ dry feet, borders and games (2020), My Body Holds Its Shape (2020), Phantom Plane, Cyberpunk in the Year of the Future (2019), Performing Society: The Violence of Gender (2019), Cao Fei, A hollow in a world too full (2018) and amongst others. Tan has led acclaimed Tai Kwun Contemporary collaborations with The Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt and the Center for Curatorial Studies of Bard College in New York. With research focus on ecology, cosmotechnics,  transnational narratives, live and performativity, Tan's curatorial work reimagines art spaces and exhibition-making as a proactive and responsive medium for artistic experimentation and  production.

About the Exhibition

Green Snake: women-centred ecologies 

Curators: Kathryn Weir and Xue Tan, with assistant curators Tiffany Leung and Pietro Scammacca 

Dates: 20 December 2023–1 April 2024 Tue–Sun: 11am–7 pm, Thu until 9 pm  Closed on Mondays  (Except public holidays, in which case the following day would be closed) 

Artists: AFSAR (Asian Feminist Studio for Art and Research), Yussef Agbo-Ola & Tabita Rezaire, Maria Thereza Alves, Lhola Amira, Minia Biabiany, Adriana Bustos, Seba Calfuqueo, Cao Minghao & Chen Jianjun, Carolina Caycedo, Stephanie Comilang & Simon Speiser, Valentina Desideri  & Denise Ferreira da Silva, Rohini Devasher, Gidree Bawlee, Guo Fengyi, Manjot Kaur, Jaffa Lam,  Candice Lin, Lavanya Mani, Marzia Migliora, Ann Leda Shapiro, Karan Shrestha, Dima Srouji, Natasha Tontey, Cecilia Vicuña, Tricky Walsh, Dana Whabira 

Venue: Tai Kwun Contemporary

Address: 1/F JC Contemporary & F Hall, Prison Yard 

Courtesy of Tai Kwun Contemporary.