ArtForum | Scraggly Beard Grandpa

Todd Meyers, Art Forum Website, November 10, 2017

The titular grandpa is missing from the works gathered in this group show of twelve artists who spent time working at the art collective and gallery space PRACTICE in New York from 2015 to 2016. Curated by PRACTICE founders Wang Xu and Cici Wu, the show presents different tensions around the idea of folding the familiar into the foreign in daily life abroad, wherever abroad happens to be.


The sense of shadowy interiority of Irini Miga’s installation Landscape for a Thought (all works cited, 2017), a ceramic cone placed in a tiny triangle cut into the wall, is amplified by João Vasco Paiva’s The Last Kauai Oo Bird I and II, featuring tennis shoes carved from blackened lava stone from Bali, lonely remnants of owners who have disappeared or been extinguished. Rania Ho’s playful battery-powered inflatable nylon suits in the outdoor garden make the fragile cement scaffolding of Yunyu “Ayo” Shih’s Before It Happens––which resembles a partition wall, installed near the entrance of the exhibition––much more halting.


There is something about the traffic of ideas and artworks between China and the United States that remains wonderfully understated in “Scraggly Beard Grandpa”––here, we find no thesis on expatriation. One leaves, one returns, and, somewhere along the way, one picks up friends to work and think alongside.