ArtReview Asia Spring 2024 Issue Out Now

Featuring Aki Sasamoto, Kim Heecheon, Glenn Ligon, Wang Ya-Hui, Taipei Biennial and Thailand Biennale, Ryusuke Hamaguchi and much more

on the cover: Aki Sasamoto, photographed by Katharina Poblotzki in New York, February 2024

“A switch for eccentricity is not available until you flip it,” Aki Sasamoto tells Tyler Coburn in the cover feature of ArtReview Asia’s Spring issue. Across performance, video, installation and sculpture practices, the Japanese-born, New York-based artist mines the eccentricities of everyday life, turning each of her experiments into a philosophical musing. In one work, for instance, ‘The attempt to extract every last bit of toothpaste makes her question the yield point of its tube and if she can go beyond that limit’. Lately, the artist has been researching ‘chirality’, those asymmetries found in nature that biologists struggle to account for – from the division of humans into a majority of righties and a smaller group of lefties, or that of snail shells into clockwise and (a minority of) anticlockwise spirals – something she explores in concurrent shows at the Queens Museum, New York, and Para Site, Hong Kong.

Harry C.H. Choi’s conversation with Heecheon Kim considers a different sort of evolution, the constantly mutating relationship between our material and virtual surroundings. In Kim’s recent commission at the Hayward Gallery, an avatar of the first-person player/narrator rides a skateboard through a meticulous rendering of the surrounding architectural environment, while chewing over the discomforting interstice between his real and digital lives. Kim has become something of a phenomenon among South Korean artists of his generation, not least thanks to his deft use of the latest technological breakthroughs, from developments in AI to augmented reality. And yet Kim insists his work is not about technological progress but more about the existential questions that arise from its uses: “These byproducts of technology are just a reflection of who we are, what we desire and how we think.”

Time and existence are the questions that animate the work of Taiwanese artist Wang Ya-Hui. Following the artist’s death last year at the age of fifty, Adeline Chia dives into their two-decade oeuvre, marked by ‘a feeling of tranquil sedimentation and calm authority’. Wang’s abstract and eerie videoworks, which often showed objects quietly lurking in or moving through space, seem to aim to make the passage of time tangible. For Chia, the patterns in Wang’s work ‘resonate poignantly with the cycles of life and death’; they are a reminder that ‘despite constant change, there is steadfast companionship that remains resolute even through thick and thin, life and death; that something indefinable remains.’

American artist Glenn Ligon speaks to Jessica Laney about his first exhibition in Hong Kong, opening at Hauser & Wirth on 25 March. Often working with text and literary sources, Ligon’s paintings on paper and canvas deal with ideas of visibility and erasures in modern art. Here, he talks about being inspired by graffiti culture and the textures of Chinese rubbings, and about the art and politics of opacity. “The difficulty I stage in my paintings, how hard they are to read and how you have to struggle to read them,” Ligon says, “is the struggle to understand anything about race or identity.”

Also in this issue

Yuwen Jiang talks to scholar Xuelei Huang about her recent book Scents of China, in which she traces the history and evolution of olfactory perception in the country – and the potential uses of smells as ideological tools or means of resistance. In columns, Deepa Bhasthi considers the politics of food in India, as Tamil film Annapoorani: The Goddess of Food (2023) generates heated national debates; Suraj Yengde finds representations of solidarity and political struggles in the paintings of Vikrant Bhise – from the Dalit people to Palestinians in Gaza; and Max Crosbie-Jones argues that the absence of Southeast Asian works on the global literary scene has to do with ecologies of translation practices.


Reviews of major art events and exhibitions from around the world including the first Taiwan Austronesian Indigenous Triennial, and the Thailand and Taipei biennials; as well as extensive previews of the shows to look out for this season, in Southeast Asia and beyond; fiction and theory book releases; and much more.

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