We are pleased to share Nabuqi and Tao Hui’s participation in the group exhibition Mirror Image: A Transformation of Chinese Identity, presented by Asia Society Museum, New York. Organized by Barbara Pollack, guest curator, with Hongzheng Han, guest curatorial assistant, Mirror Image includes 19 artworks by seven artists, born in mainland China in the 1980s. On view are Nabuqi’s mixed media installation, How to Be “Good Life” (2019) and Tao Hui’s Similar Disguise Stills (2021).
Nabuqi’s How to Be “Good Life” (2019) continues the artist’s long-term exploration of the aesthetics of private spaces. Since 2014, Nabuqi has been developing a readymade series: in a way that is seemingly much more specific and light-hearted than the artist’s laboriously crafted sculptures. Both the title and the form of How to Be “Good Life” allude to the history of Pop Art, particularly to Richard Hamilton’s art. The installation also uses images of the Pantheon, the Egyptian Pyramid and of animals for the first time: for the artist, the images become empty signifiers and the installation a flat film set, pertaining to reality that is fundamentally superfluous.
Similar Disguise Stills (2021) originates from Tao Hui’s single channel video work Similar Disguise (2020), a series of five videos, telling in the artist’s signature style five episodic stories. By portraying five distinct protagonists from different times, Tao Hui considers the role of disguising and performing in the formation and metamorphosis of identities. As the narratives gradually unfold, the stories that are not initially connected to one another interweave and reveal hidden story arcs. Tao Hui is known for actively referencing various forms of popular culture, conveying messages that could resonate universally; for Similar Disguise, he creates each of the episode in the structure of a TikTok video, beneath the approachable, easy facade of which is a loosened, non-linear poetic narrative that imagines and recalls different worlds.
Mirror Image: A Transformation of Chinese Identity Nabuqi, Tao Hui
Nabuqi, 'How to Be “Good Life”' (2019)
Installation view of “Mirror Image: A Transformation of Chinese Identity” at Asia Society Museum, New York.
Photograph © Bruce M. White, 2022, courtesy of Asia Society.