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Zadie Xa
The Conch, Sea Urchin and Brass Bell

Pump House Gallery

3 August - 23 September 2017


In collaboration with Pump House Gallery, PS/Y’s Hysteria programme presents the first major solo exhibition in the UK of London based Canadian artist Zadie Xa. The exhibition The Conch, Sea Urchin and Brass Bell is the narration of a displaced body’s journey and return to a ‘homeland’. Through spatial aspects of the gallery, the protagonist searches for an understanding of belonging but instead finds a concoction of excitement, rejection, and bewilderment.

Across moving-image, soundscapes, objects and textiles Zadie Xa interlaces imagined and learned Korean folklore in search of a reflexive space in which diasporic knowledge can be transformed into new realities. Filmic flashbacks, almost recognisable figures and looping dream states invite the audience to join Xa on a journey through her own memory, Korean cultural memory and future possible scenarios. Using the transformative structure of the ritual – storytelling, rhythm, and repetition – the exhibition responds to a desire to reach states of ecstatic enlightenment.

In her work Zadie Xa interweaves fact with fiction, past with future, to explore identity, desire and personal fantasy. Through circular narratives and perplexing fiction she seeks to create a space in which we can reconsider notions of national identity, cultural ownership, and folkloric displacement. Employing painting, textile, video, and sound within her storytelling, Xa’s practice is preoccupied with performative presentations where traditional cultural knowledge is passed between diasporic bodies.

This exhibition is part of PS/Y’s Hysteria programme and is curated by Mette Kjærgaard Præst in partnership with Pump House Gallery.


Images: Zadie Xa, The Conch, Sea Urchin and Brass Bell, 2017, Pump House Gallery. Part of PS/Y’s Hysteria programme. Photos by Eoin Carey