CCA Wattis, San Francisco

Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts / 360 Kansas Street
CA 94103-5130 San Francisco

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artist / participant

press release

Hong Kong-born artist Shirley Tse transforms materials such as bubble wrap, Styrofoam and polyurethane into phantasmagoric constructions. She is best known for sculptures made of polystyrene sheets, whose elaborately hollowed-out forms suggest everything from urban topographies to geological formations, from computer circuit boards to imprints left by unnamable consumer goods. She was included in the 2002 Sydney Biennale.

Key support for Shirley Tse's Capp Street Project was provided by a grant from the LEF Foundation.

Artist's Statement (November 2002)

I have been working with types of plastic, including polystyrene, for quite a few years. This man-made substance, infinitely adaptable, strong and light, is both surface and structure, ubiquitous yet alien. It is the residue of trading, the brand new trash.

In the handling of plastics, shelf life is a technical term that implies potency and duration. The title of my installation can also be taken literally: the flatness of the sculpture's surface is a shelf for people to interact with. Visitors walking across its polystyrene platforms will leave permanent impressions, and temporary ones when walking over those areas covered with memory foam.

By sitting in the vacuum-formed tubs, meanwhile, visitors will activate these forms as containers for the body, as if enacting the packaging of physical experience and memory.

Capp Street Project
Shirley Tse