Ghislaine Leung, Holdings, 2024
Ghislaine Leung: Holdings
Jan 20 – Apr 14, 2024
The Renaissance Society
Chicago, USA

Ghislaine Leung, who lives in London, takes to task familiar traditions like conceptual art, readymade sculpture, and institutional critique, re-imagining their underlying questions and methods in canny, playful ways. Central to her work are concise “scores.” These written descriptions outline the implementation and materials of a work, which an institution then interprets and executes in conversation with the artist. At the heart of this are Leung’s ongoing explorations of the dynamics of value, labor, and access, as well as the kinds of dependencies and displacements that shape her life and ours.

Leung’s exhibition at the Renaissance Society – her first solo presentation at a US museum – brings forward some of the core personal and conceptual underpinnings of her work more often in the background. Through a series of new scores, some presented in their full edition, Holdings negotiates the ways identity is constituted, articulated, accepted or disowned, in terms of both the artwork and the artist herself. Central to this is a sense of identity in motion, distributed and diasporic, plural and absent, propelled by lives that run counter to polarized logics and fixed positions.

As Leung weaves together the conceptual and the personal, she also astutely integrates formal and contextual cues. It can be tempting to favor one of these various aspects over the others when engaging with Leung’s work, perhaps depending on one’s own interests, but for her all these layers intersect. At the Ren, Leung is a close observer of her architectural, institutional, and even acoustical surroundings, recognizing them as their own sites of contingency and negotiation, the space itself becoming part of the conditional grounds for the questions at hand.

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