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20 September 2022 – 30 April 2023
For her largest solo exhibition in London to date, Korean-Canadian artist, Zadie Xa (b.1983) presents a new body of work commissioned by Whitechapel Gallery. Xa creates an ambitious installation where sculptures, textiles and paintings act as ‘tricksters’ and ‘shapeshifters’ in and amongst a large-scale fabric structure that is inspired by a traditional Korean home known as a hanok. Immersive lighting and audio transform the gallery’s historic architecture into a dreamscape that suggests ideas of liminality and transience.
Drawing on her own background, the works on display reflect the artist’s ongoing engagement with hybrid and diasporic identities, global history, folklore, and spiritual and religious rituals. Xa’s art seeks to elevate narratives that have been erased and repressed by the West and occupying powers. It is a means to analyse and process socio-political conditions and cultural behaviours through a lens of masquerade, play, costuming and storytelling.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication designed by London and Paris-based design house, in the shade of a tree.
Zadie Xa was born in Vancouver, Canada in 1983. She has an MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art and a BFA from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. Recent solo exhibitions include: The Box Plymouth (2022), National Gallery (2021, Leeds Art Gallery (2021), Remai Modern (2020). Group exhibitions and performances include: Jeju Biennale (2023), Somerset House (2023), Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2022), Hauser & Wirth, London (2022) Jeffrey Deitch Gallery (2022), Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong (2022), Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles (2022), Castello di Rivoli (2021), Haus der Kunst (2021), Shanghai Biennale (2021), Frieze London (2020), AGO Toronto (2020), Art Night (2020), Venice Biennale (2019), Hayward Gallery (2018) and Serpentine Galleries (2018 & 2017). Xa lives and works in London.
The Whitechapel Gallery Commissioning Council:
Dorota Audemars, Erin Bell ,Emilie De Pauw, Heloisa Genish, Leili Huth, Irene Panagopoulos, & Nicole Saikalis Bay.
Additional support from:
The High Commission of Canada to the United Kingdom
Nicoletta Fiorucci Foundation
With thanks to Abbotts Flooring and J&C Joel Ltd
The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts
The exhibition’s design and production of the artworks have been made with Xa’s long-time collaborator, artist Benito Mayor Vallejo.