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Torkwase Dyson, Bird and Lava #01, BiAcrylic, plywood, steel, two pieces, each 361 × 638 × 244 cm, 2021 © Torkwase Dyson

Artist Projects

Torkwase Dyson at the 13th Shanghai Biennale

Bird and Lava #01

Nov 13, 2020 – Mar 28, 2021
Shanghai Biennale
Power Station, Huangpu District, Shanghai

Torkwase Dyson’s work has been informed by both water and architecture for many years. From this broader thematic, the paintings and sculptures in the exhibition form different responses to the Biennale’s theme “Bodies of Water.” The sculpture Bird and Lava #01 arose from an ongoing question: If Blackness is already an architectonic developed out of liquidity (ocean), can the work embody this phenomenon and offer sensation (sensoria) at the register of liberation? The structure of this question exists in a hypershape: a geometric abstraction culled from Black histories and responsive to our built environments. The shape took inspiration from the architecture born out of the establishment of self-consciousness, whereby the ocean/waters were/are used as a superhighway for dispossession.

This conceptual framework has grown on and around the Yangtze River as the artist approached the series of paintings in the exhibition. The paintings were influenced by four specific details included in the contextual research: The Yangtze River Bridge; A Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains; images of fossilized jellyfish; and finally, the construction of the hanging coffins. The paintings reflected on the spatial elements such as water, infrastructure and human geography.

Learn more at the Shanghai Biennale's website.

Artist Projects — Torkwase Dyson at the 13th Shanghai Biennale, Nov 13, 2020