Mead Carney is delighted to announce the first exhibition of sculptural works by internationally acclaimed ceramic artist Tina Tsang. In her first major solo show, Psychopomp, Tsang’s new body of work reflects her struggle for spiritual enlightenment in the contemporary culture of London as inspired by trans-meditation experiences and cross-cultural religious beliefs.
Through the combined media of video, audio and sculpture, Tsang has created a personal, eclectic universe that elucidates her heartfelt search for truth and a sense of self within a transient, media generated, consumer culture. Psychopomp consists of three bodies of new works – Ascension Figures, Lady Psychopomp and Memories of Life on Earth.
Tsang incorporates video within the figurative sculptures with her three distinct Ascension Figures. These life-sized, female forms lie horizontally in the gallery, as if hovering. Each narrates Tsang’s personal experiences of spiritual transformation and realisation. With screens for faces, the flickering images conjure mirage-like memories of pain and redemption, cycles of birth, growth, death and resurrection. The human spirit is transfigured into the animal and dreams of a life beyond our material plane.
The series of sculptures Lady Psychopomp are represented by the iconic figure of the Christian proselyte Virgin Mary. Golden roots and branches grow from beneath the Blessed Mary into the material earth, objectively symbolizing humankind’s need for veneration, devotion, salvation and redemption – a means of comfort from suffering and degradation within life from the consequences of sin.
The reverse side of each Lady Psychopomp are sculpted images of animal heads – the Owl, the Cat and the Hawk – representing the psychopomp, common symbols used in many religions whose responsibility is to escort newly deceased souls to the afterlife. Their role is not to judge the deceased, but simply to provide safe passage. Animated video is incorporated within the different faces of each Lady Psychopomp depicting dream like sequences – manifestations of anxiety and desire asserted by the subconscious realms, all highlighting Tsang’s interest in the struggles of humanity.
Finally, time capsules in the form of giant seashells comprise the Memories of Life on Earth series. Each reveals emotionally charged audio vignettes that convey human desires and earthly experiences against the basic instincts and challenges of animals within the natural environment. The sounds of forest creatures living in peace and harmony within their natural habitat are contrasted against the lust-filled dialogue of a couple getting intimate for the first time; the haunting cry of a whale calf in the womb of the natural ocean is juxtaposed against the traumatic narrative of a young woman’s near death experience; Japanese tsunami monks, drawing inspiration from the ancient shamanic belief that the power of human emotion can influence the natural world, toll the bell to ward off the impending devastation of natural disaster, whilst a reformed drug addict, devoid of confidence, toils at a supermarket check-out and reflects on a life of wasted opportunity and lost hope. These works embody the synesthetic power of Tsang’s work, combining physical and time based media to transport the viewer to a state of contemplation and experience.
Tina Tsang was born in 1981 in Singapore, and currently lives and works in London. She is the director of Undergrowth Design, which breathes life into everyday objects that become household conversation pieces. Her practice comprises an interdisciplinary approach to art and design, exemplifying her diverse training and breadth of interests. After graduating from Central Saint Martins in animation and illustration in 2005, Tsang subsequently worked and practised in film, painting, animation, photography, costume and fashion design. Tsang is renowned for her eccentric and theatrical ceramic designs and has exhibited her work worldwide.