Shirley Tse

Shirley Tse

Contemporary Artist

Shirley Tse is an American contemporary artist born in Hong Kong. Tse’s work is often installation based and incorporates sculpture, photography and video, and explores sculptural processes as models of multi-dimensional thinking and negotiation. She is faculty in the School of Art at California Institute of the Arts, and was the Co-Director of the Program in Art from 2011-2014. She is co-organizer of the ReMODEL Sculpture Education Now symposia series and has been visiting faculty at Yale School of Art, Northwestern University, California College of Arts and Crafts (San Francisco), and Claremont Graduate University.

Most recently she has been exploring sculptural processes as models of multi-dimensional thinking and negotiation. Sculpture-making demands the ability to merge the abstract, the literal and the practical. A sculptor has to negotiate constantly between her concepts, their practicality as real-world existence (physics) and their relationship to the rest of the world (architectural, semantic and ethical, for example). Sculpture requires the ability to know how to fit things together, how to problem solve and how to orchestrate elements within a whole that reflects the structure of the artist’s ideas. Her interest in this fluidity, or “plasticity” as a mode of sculpture is developed out of her decade-long research of plastic as a phenomenon in contemporary society.

Click here to find out more about Shirley Tse.

Read on for an exclusive Q&A with Shirley ahead of the Summit:

What does wellbeing mean to you?

To me, wellbeing is a state of being fully present in life force, that connects everything. The barriers to being in that state are illness, physical and mental ones, deprivation, threat, injury, fear, anxiety, violence, isolation, alienation, judgement and oppression.

Why are you looking forward to being part of The Wellbeing Summit?

I am looking forward to being part of the Wellbeing Summit because the barriers I listed above are multi-pronged and I am excited to see people from different disciplines coming together to world-build a sustainable model.

How does your work connect to wellbeing?

After my last project “Stakeholders”- a solo exhibition representing Hong Kong at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019- I have been thinking about the biggest stake we all hold as stakeholders is the climate crisis. My current work contemplates all form of sustainability: our environment, our energy use, our mental health and our economic disparity. The question of “what does a sustainable art practice look like” is at the center of my current work.

How does your work for the summit bring you and your audience closer to wellbeing?

The title “Quantum Shirley Series: Meditating is Porting to a Blissful Version of Ourselves 2022“ may be self explanatory? “Quantum Shirley Series” is an ongoing series exploring different perception of realties, using quantum physics’ many worlds theory to pivot different outcomes of personal and historical narratives. I think what we need now is visuals that inspire us to imagine- imagine invisible realties, imagine the poetic, imagine more space…I practice mediation and I experience very concrete feeling of change yet being in the same body. The sculpture I am making for the summit is a portal that is comprised of 5 rings: they can be interpreted as the five kinds of brainwaves (gamma, beta, alpha, theta and delta) or the five elements in tibetan prayer flags.

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