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M ㄅ V ㄍ M ㄍ ㄇ ㄒ II : Architecture of Consolation

Cathy Hsiao,  "M ㄅ V ㄍ M ㄍ ㄇ ㄒ  II : Architecture of Consolation," 2019
Cathy Hsiao,  "M ㄅ V ㄍ M ㄍ ㄇ ㄒ  II : Architecture of Consolation," 2019
Friday, January 4, 2019 - 5:00pm to Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 5:00pm
*NEW RECEPTION HOURS* Opening: Friday, January 4, 5-8 PM


The bas relief (or male) die pushes the image up, while the mold-shaped (or female) die presses from above. The result is a raised, embossed image on one side, and an indented, or debossed, image on the other.

- Sculpture: Technique, Form, Content

Imprisoned by four walls
(to the North, the crystal of non-knowledge
a landscape to be invented
to the South, reflective memory
to the East, the mirror
to the West, stone and the song of silence)
I wrote messages, but received no reply.

- Envoi, Octavio Paz

Chicago Artists Coalition is pleased to present M ㄅ V ㄍ M ㄍ ㄇ ㄒ  II : Architecture of Consolation, a solo exhibition by BOLT Resident, Cathy HsiaoArchitecture of Consolation is the second of four movements of the artist’s Songbook for Sculpture cycle. In her second movement, Hsiao explores through multiple collaborations the networks of cultural production and circulation between the East and West, this time starting with a single image of a Japanese woodblock and expanding into an architectural tableaux. 

Hsiao transmutes the image from the woodblock into multiple material forms. Bodies become studies for bas-reliefs on hand-dyed canvas and their figures inspire scored arrangements of sculptures for ikebana. Hsiao’s experimental investigations into casting and digital mold-making combine traditional dyes of indigo, brazilwood, and tea with lines of concrete and plaster that are laid down in timed-pours and are drawn with her entire body. They harden and condense all the energy of that drawn movement onto a surface.

By using the architecture of a symphony and sound as a vehicle, Hsiao also creates aural forms as counterpoints to the material manifestations in M ㄅ V ㄍ M ㄍ ㄇ ㄒ  II : Architecture of Consolation. The exhibit closes with a sound performance with Hsiao and Akosuen and a short moving image work The Bathers, 泳客, produced inside the gallery during the length of the exhibition. The space of the gallery becomes a site of voyeurism, a site of performance and a literal space for the production of an image, all the while amplifying the dissonance and pleasure generated by these exchanges. Through shifts in scale, medium, material, and ritualization, the image is re-energized and drives paradoxical moments of subjugation and solace through the Western gaze.



Friday, February 8, 2019, 6-8 PM

Screening: The Bathers, 泳客
A video filmed on-site inside the BOLT Gallery during the run of the exhibition, with choreographed movements and the sound of water "living image tableau" and a select open call to CAC for performers 

Thursday February, 14 2019, 6 PM

Sound performance 
Live duet with Billie Howard performing as Akosuen


Special Thanks

Nathan Braunfeld - Mold co-design, The Letters & The Bathers
Danielle Campbell - Director of Cinematography, The Bathers
Colette Hamann - Mold fabrication, The Letters
Billie Howard - Sound, Akosuen
Kamil Krol - Mold fabrication, The Letters
Navillus Woodworks - Mold fabrication, The Letters
Coco - Floral consultation, word mold
Chicago Artists Coalition


Cathy Hsiao is an artist working in Chicago.

She comes from a background in craft, weaving animal fibers dyed with plants, and was raised by a Buddhist mother. “Plant and Animal Studio” keeps this name as acknowledgement of those histories.