Be sure to view Shirley Tse at the Armory Center for the Arts

The Armory Show and Tell: Shirley Tse presents Quantum Shirley

Quantum Shirley

Quantum Shirley is a framework the artist uses to produce a series of works in diverse media. Quantum Shirley weaves together personal history, New Physics, trade movement and history of colonial products (rubber and vanilla), and the geographical displacement of Chinese nationals in the last century (Chinese Diaspora).

“To escape wars and to seek employment opportunity, my mother’s family was displaced in different parts of the South Pacific and became labor force for plantations. My mother’s immediate family landed in Malaysia and found work in rubber plantations, and her cousin Simone’s family moved further to Tahiti to work in vanilla plantations. My mother and Simone met again in 1968 in Hong Kong when Simone was doing merchandising for her toy import business. My mother moved back to China only to escape it later during Cultural Revolution, when she fled to Hong Kong. Witnessing the financial hardship my mother had to bear, Simone offered to adopt my mother’s four children and me, an infant at that time. Everything was arranged for me to be sent on an airplane in the custody of the airline, but my mother withdrew the arrangement in the last minute and I stayed with her. I often wonder what my life would have been had I grown up in Papeete fostered by Simone. All Simone’s four children were educated in universities in Paris, and some are quite artistically inclined. Perhaps I would have been an artist anyway. Better yet, I believe, in a parallel world, I speak French, have lived in Tahiti, studied at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, and became an artist. I just simply cannot observe that existence.

“According to quantum theory, if a card falls, it falls on both sides at once. This can be explained by the ‘collapse of the wave function,’ which basically means that thing exists in many states but then collapses into one state when observed. I am intrigued by the ‘validation’ of parallel worlds, paradoxes, and the simultaneity offered by quantum physics. It is interesting that an otherwise tragic personal story can be re-interpreted. When a personal story is seen through other scientific, economic, or historical lenses, a radical change or even a reversal of values could take place.

“I [will] talk about my personal story and map the connections of it to colonial trade, China’s recent history and multiple-worlds theory…[and] show some images and videos I took in my trip to visit Simone in Tahiti, something I have not yet found form of presenting.”

Shirley Tse’s work has been included in numerous museums and exhibitions worldwide, including the Biennale of Sydney; Bienal Ceara America, Brazil; Kaohshiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan; Art Gallery of Ontario; Museum of Modern Art, Bologna, Italy; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; New Museum of Contemporary Art and PS1, both in New York; Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, UK; and Govett- Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand. Her work has been included in numerous articles, catalogues, and publications including Sculpture Today by Phaidon. She received the City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowship, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and the California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

12:45 pm - 1:45 pm


Armory Center for the Arts

145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103