“   ” Quote Unquote attempts to reveal the absurdity of the juxtaposing absence and presence in certain social gestures by representing different levels of visibility, authority and extractivism. “   ” Quote Unquote is a curatorial project generated from resisting the hegemony of patriarchal narratives.

In its first edition, we are pleased to present 16 artists of Chinese descent, whose works emerge as collective responses to recent social and domestic brutalities against women and sexual minorities in China(1). Their works revolve around exploring diverse cultural facets of identity politics practice, in the context of inquiring about the relationship between excessive self-censorship and patriarchal hegemony in the authoritative system of governance. Ideologies that celebrate compliance towards patriarchal society are well constructed and promoted by the nation through cultural products and mass media discourse.

This utterly impedes marginalised individuals both economically and politically in establishing and preserving sustained subjectivity, not to mention the psychological coping mechanisms required to perceive and detox the hidden pain generated by experiencing these public events.

In the London milieu which is comparatively tolerant towards transgenderism and postgenderism, this exhibition intends  to showcase the subtlety of the sense of misalignment and incongruity, exploring the difference between the productive rhythms of identity politics in China and others.

1.2022 Xuzhou Chained woman
2022 Tangshan restaurant attack

2022 Ürümqi fire

Review: On deep ecology of Chinese femborgs by Piotr Bockowski

Tide, Angoscioso, Heave, Redemption, 2023

Sculpture, resin, plaster, wire, 40 x 30 X 40CM * 3; 20 x 10 x 6CM
Portia Yuran Li  @portia__lee

Life is parodic: horseshoe crabs randomly discarded on the seashore after blood is extracted near the heart face the same situation as women who are used as reproductive machines.

Movement is a figure of love: the surge of the tide iteratively expresses the angoscioso of the horseshoe crab, the semicircular pregnancy belly is the tide, and the heave shape shows the redemption of human beings. People give birth to life with love, but wantonly ignore the suffering of others.

Utopia of the Problematic, 2020
New version installed at the exhibition 2023

Carpet, Knife, 120 x 160 CM
Zeus Li @lizeqize

To spread out a soft carpet over the dense tips of knives is a metaphor for how society itself carries people, and people need to depend on society. But when people live in a society with too many problems and malice, we become so numb that we can't feel the harm. The truth is that our situation is dangerous. The power penetrates our life, the sharpness has been spread across.

Misery of an Abstract Dinner, 2022

Video Installation, 4:12’’
Raw2.2 @raw2.2

Where can the conscious go when it’s unlimited by a form? Inspired by experiences of dissociation, the film sets in a state where one has no core identity to rely on. A fragmented young girl who sees the inner voices of her mind materialised in humanoids to attend a dinner together. Drawing a parallel between feelings of emptiness, the ill-minded body is compared to an empty shell, an artificial vessel of a CGI cyborg. When the characters are animated to speak and to interact with the artist, special effects in moving-images become what reality is capable of. Is reality merely the world we operate in, or where our imagination can go beyond? The project hopes to present an experiment on thoughts as realities, displaying the incoherence of the mind without logicising.

-𝟯𝟮𝟭 °𝗙 | 𝒊𝒏 𝒔𝒂𝒓𝒄𝒐𝒑𝒉𝒂𝒈𝒐 𝒗𝒊𝒗𝒖𝒎 𝒂𝒆𝒓𝒊 ,2020 

Celeste Viv Ly @virtio.djvu (https://v-l-y.io/) 
Installation, sculpture, mixed media.

-𝟯𝟮𝟭 °𝗙 | 𝑖𝑛 𝑠𝑎𝑟𝑐𝑜𝑝ℎ𝑎𝑔𝑜 𝑣𝑖𝑣𝑢𝑚 𝑎𝑒𝑟𝑖 is a body of work in an ongoing research project catalysed by the intermingling strands of a series of real-life events reflective of the surreal era of 2010-2200-∞. Some of these events may have trans-spatiotemporally informed each other in the parallel of their aftermaths caused by cryopreservation and/or refrigeration. The works in the installation feature the condensation from the immaterial to material, from events to material evidence and vestiges, from the real to the parafictionalised.

In the installation, ‘in sarcophago vivum aeri’ (image on the right and in the right hand side in the image on the left) is a sculpture involving the transformation of the material cycle of water and wax, and its instrumentation and ‘weaponisation’. Developed from the artist’s ongoing research on cryopreservation, freezing as an archival and empirical method, the Essex refrigerator lorry incident and private cryonics organisations, the work expands to the Sisyphean cycle of labour, transportation, violence, mobility and displacement on a larger socio-cultural scale. Composed of the crystallised remains of ceromancy (echoing the motion in which bodies fall into water, conducted in the seawater transported into the sarcophagus) and mirroring inland territorial waters, the piece becomes the nexus of interwoven time and potential futures. Reflecting on the notion that the sea has been in some way a gigantic collective sarcophagus, the spiritual syntaxes of augury and obsequies embodied in the materiality of white translucent wax, and the process of transporting seawater — which parallels the movement and displacement of bodies carried across continents and waters— converge in the middle, as a tribute, a resting place beyond time, and the intensive signification of the notion (the sea as a collective sarcophagus) that has haunted the artist throughout all this time.

In the time-based sculpture ‘1̵̨̥͇͚̽͗́3̵̰̆̈3̵̥̝͈̤̙͕̈͋̀͛͝͝͝͝°̵̤̩̓̇ͅ ̷̲͛7̵͈̃9̵̗̳͔͕̮̻̟̓̈̀̕.̸̗̀̀̈́̐͆̈́͝5̷͇̰͇͉̗̝͑̿1̴̢̡̖͙̓͒͒́̒̎5̴͖͕̗͙̿̍̂̈̑́̈́̒̕͜ ̷̺̿̉͠N̶͉̗͚̍̀͗̀͝͝ ̴̧͉̝̽̊̓͐͠0̷̢̩̥̝̣͔̼̲͐̄͂͗͌1̸͕̈2̶̺̠͍͈͙͍̻͕̾̀̈͊̀°̵̘͗͋͂͛̅͒̌ͅ ̶̺͕̘̱̮̅̍͊̃͛̓9̸̨̩̱͕̥͚̲̩̀̌̄͜͝͝0̴͇͍̲̰͇̩̪̆̍̽̌͝.̷͖͛̓͆͠7̸̡̬͓͎͛́̈͗̓̐͆͗̚9̸͍̦̍7̷̮̯̱͈͖̱̰̓͛͒͛̿̈́͘͘ ̵̢̬̗̣̥̻̭̙͙͋̏͌Ë̴̠̣͚̥̙̣͙́̽͋̑̈̎̌͊ͅ’ (the upper right side in the image on the left), frozen seawater (transported from 133° 79.515 N  012°90.797 E, an undisclosed, 'nonexistent' location at sea) is transformed into an icicle hung in midair above the sarcophagus-like structure (‘in sarcophago vivum aeri’). Ice is sourced for its malleability and its transition of states as a requisite for its weaponisation, as water/ice is unsuspected, transparent and ‘invisible', and yet a lethal, untraceable weapon. Alluding to the processes of cryopreservation, water/ice as weapons, and the act of putting a stake through the heart in subjugating the Other in neogothic lores, the work parallels the futility of bodies, the resistance against, and the defence of them on the larger scale, revealing and integrating with its Sisyphean cycle. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, the suspended  icicle-like sculpture drips into the water held in the sarcophagus below and slowly melts away, paralleling ancient water torture and becoming both a weapon lethal by its potentiality and the drowned body of the victimised.

Exploring the liminal space between life, death and beyond, diasporic experiences, and necropolitics, the work is a reflection of the trajectories and struggle of bodies victimised by ideologies, in transgression, across systems of governance and bodies of water; aided, prostheticised, sabotaged, and/or eternalised by technologies and the technoscientific imaginary. It is dedicated to all the bodies that have been found and lost in the sea and beyond, the diasporic, and ‘us’.

Subordination and inclusion, 2020

Zhu Qia @zhu_qia

The line in the work is "Do not grow strawberries in a field without a greenhouse, and they are stolen by children before they turn red". My uncle once planted a row of strawberries in the wheat field for me but never harvested ripe strawberries What he said was regretful. The current urbanized life removes the state of the tight connection between land and emotion from my personal life. The world outside humanity and I are divided. The narrator part of this work is a story created in the style of traditional Ghost Novels. The protagonist is a non- figurative thing without a concrete form. After many years,she became a human being, and after experiencing human emotions, she turned into a process of becoming a thing. In her view, there is no hierarchy of beings. She is persistent in the relationship with the Other. At the same time, it also metaphors the change of human relationship with non-human in different historical stages.

Somnambulists, 2022

Oil on Canvas, 200 x 120 CM
Uchercie @uchercie

The surveillance perspective of the machine is still working in the post-apocalyptic era, events happen before they are understood and dive between the mosaics that make up attempts and experiences. Each occurrence triggers a sense of finality in the pending understanding.

In the disciplined individual, the scarcity of imagination, the forgetfulness of pleasure and the control of freedom. The subjectivity is nothing more than an indicator of the events of time.

Silent Declaration, 2022

Artificial stone, Stone, Steel, Glass, A4 paper, Acrylic sheet, 90 x 58 x 90CM
Zhikang Cai @kaia1o

Each stone is unique, but the functions and images of stones are interfered with and tampered with by humans. The image was disintegrated by human intervention in the material, and new forms of existence and functions were created. The image and function of material objects are a process of synchronisation.

Silent Declaration is an aggregation of stone elements. The work aims to create new connections between materials and elements. A passive relational structure is visualised by changing the form of perception of matter. In this work, the stone symbolises the passive state of an individual's destiny.

The fake stone is a replica of the real one, which is ten times lighter because of the material transformation. So that the fake stone can be installed on the wall and the weight can serve as a functional reference. The artist's use of materials and how they are installed express a constraint. At the same time, the reproduction of  relationships is a metaphor for the reality of the individual's suppressed fate.

Untitled (Rituals), 2022

Performance Installation, 1 hour
Silver cutleries, polishing cloth, wooden table, fabric,150 x 150 x 96CM
Kai Yan Cheung @jeskaiyan

In Untitled(rituals), the performer is seen polishing silver cutleries in a continuous loop inside a round table. The fruit of her labour is not measured by progress but through consistent restless maintenance. The performance amplifies the repetitiveness of domestic labouring, which is often regarded as a woman’s responsibility under patriarchal social structures. Her actions are entirely controlled by the silver cutleries; it is only when the tarnish is completely removed that she is allowed to stop. The reality of the never-ending silver oxidation makes the completeness of this task unattainable, dictating her freedom.

Panther under the tower, 2023

Vin Chen  @vinxxchen

I dreamt that a black leopard turned into a human. It was the embodiment of the wise, and also the butterfly in "Zhuangzhou Dreaming Butterfly", "Is it Zhuang Zhou who dreamed of the butterfly, or the butterfly who dreamed of Zhuang Zhou?" There hides the truth that mankind has always wanted to search for in this Zhuangzhou' s argument --- what is true?

Quantum mechanics has proved that the world is not absolutely material, and also illustrated that uncertainty is one of the secrets of the universe. Under the "absolute", there is no beautiful space for butterflies to fly, so there is no absolute truth and no absolute correctness. When an idea is absolutely biased towards a certain force or movement, danger also exists therein.

Floating Metamorphic 003&004, 2022

Resin, metal, 50CM x 60CM
Moyu yang @m0m0999999999

Installations Floating Metamorphic are based on abandoning anthropocentrism and trying to look at nature from a "dehumanizing" perspective. Caring for the non-human, changing the human perspective to the non-human perspective, giving up the human subject identity. By breaking the classic proposition that "man is the scale of everything" and taking Deleuze's animalization theory and Kafka's novel Metamorphosis as reference, this paper presents the process of "influence" through sculptural installation. The only way out of metaphorical animalization is the generation of reality.

The living room, 2023

Installation, 280 x 150 x 200CM
Fake diamonds, melting wax, pvc, fdm printing bones, digital printing, acrylic, oil
Xicheng Lu @breadquinn

The living room explores the intimate relationship between domestic space, morality and life. The installation uses fake diamonds, 3D-printed bones, melting wax and digital images to construct a living room with manufactural products. How to define morality when life is a glamourous landscape?

Player, 2019

Basketball hoop, stockting, basketballs
Chen Yuchen @worchen

From elementary school to high school, I always wonder why boys who can play sports are always popular. They're also always like a clique with strong social power which is even able to bully others.

After growing up, I had a boyfriend who was the captain of the university basketball team. One day I asked him, do you really love basketball, or did you start loving it since you discovered your athletic talent makes you well-received? He thought for a while... and of course, he wouldn't admit it. But at the end of that night, he asked me: how about you? why do you be together with me?

Divide, Distance, Disappear, 2022

Steel, Wood, Plastic, Isopropyl alcohol, Counter intercom system, Water pump, 280 x 250 x 200CM
Zhikang Cai @kaia1o

Divide, Distance, Disappear demonstrates the flow of life and intervention between space and space, structure and structure, by creating a dialogue between multiple sides.

Starting from experience, the artist had switched between different medical spaces for six months. Based on a sense of numbness to the event of death, the artist reflects on the homogeneity of human life within social system. The work creates a complex system, a specific field, through the functional transformation of materials and the distribution of multiple elements. All elements in the work are juxtaposed: the sense of smell, the structure, the division of space, the unstable flow, and sound intervention. They are in the same "container", occurring simultaneously and intervening with each other.

It starts with another cliché, 2022

Acrylic, LED light, fiber, 3D print resin, chicken wire
Zinong Zhang @zinong.zhang

Imaginary objects without entities, stories that appear in fantasy, entities that are broken and reinterpreted and assembled.

Temple of Heaven, from series <Soliloquy>, 2022

Giclee Print, 35 x 28CM
William Zou @zouwilliam

Exploring family archives, self-portraits, and still life photography, William Zou's first photography project “soliloquy” interweaves and oscillates between personal past and present. By remapping queerness, diaspora, and family within new spatial-temporal relationships, the series aims to unveil identity as a fragmented experience that continually transforms. In particular, “soliloquy” sheds light on identities desired, disrupted and dismissed to consider the dilemmas of belonging and becoming.

Erotic Flow Stills, 2022

Printing on mesh and velvet
Xinyu Xu @xinyuiris

Erotic Flow Stills is a printing recombination of Xinyu’s moving image works. She recreates moving image back to stillness. The work contains various moments of erotic energy from her videos, re-overlay and fusion through fabric printing, which explores how to connect erotic information between different spaces/time through fragmented images, creates visionary erotic experience, also is related to her current research about feminist erotic space as a becoming life experience based on imagination.

Star Centrioding, 2022

Moyu Yang @m0m0999999999

In the experimental film "Star Direction", I delved into the book "Luoshu River Map" and Sankai Juku's performance. The lens language realizes the purpose of abandoning anthropocentrism by switching the human perspective, the non-human perspective and the polar God (the third perspective), and tries to show the viewer to view the world through a dehumanized perspective. As Spinoza said, "The body must be defined in relation, which means that we can only know ourselves in relation." So in this film, three objects are explored through camera language and physical performance, and the transformation of the relationship between perspectives.

"The Tao gives birth to one; One begets two; Two people make three; All things are born. All things leave the darkness behind (from which they come) and move forward to embrace the light (from which they emerge), and they live in harmony with the vacant breath." This sentence of Laozi is chosen as the inspiration carrier of the project, and turtle claws are used as the main line of the work. In essence, the audience is caught up in a perverse dark game in which the rules are unclear. The tortoise is the core of the film. Its claws are deformed in shape and its long legs extend outward, metaphorically representing the identity of "tortoise" as a non-human creature, which is not only its own identity, but also the symbol of the integration of the whole non-human creature. It is more like a hybrid, which "generates" in the process of constant fusion and evolution. The goal of the film is to eradicate the quality of the "human figure", to blur individualism and ultimately to see all living things as a whole, and to speculate through fusion and change from three different creatures (perspectives) to the original creature's synthetic biological image.

Liquid, Confluent, 2022

Woven images (1500*1100mm;594*420mm;420*297mm) and a video
Yige Tong  @y11ge

In this project, Liquid, Confluent., I fragment and restructure the female intimate narrative between mother and daughter to confront the vulnerability of intimacy in the moment. All relations

hips are fragile now. As Zygmunt Bauman argued, we live in a liquid space under the influence of dramatic changes in our social structure and technology, and our intimate relationships are fluid. In this work, I seek the scarce stability of intimate relationships to reduce the frustration of facing contemporary fragility and unpredictability. Through weaving, I attempt to build a female narration and widen the space for mutual presence between two generations of female.

Host: @weareuglyduck
Producer: @a.phantom.city
Curator: @uchercie
Poster designer: Still @Virtio.djvu, Motion and sound @theunderdor
Marketing: @lauramacij
Copywriter: @theperpetualmotionmachine & @uchercie
Exhibition photographer: Artists & @gabrielchen_ & @queixx9 
Exhibition booklet designer: @bertikkorenekk

2023 17th FEB 6 - 10PM
18 - 19th FEB 10AM - 6PM

Celeste Viv Ly  @virtio.djvu
Chen Yuchen @worchen
Kai Yan Cheung @jeskaiyan
Moyu Yang @m0m0999999999
Portia yuran li  @portia__lee
Raw2.2  @raw2.2
Uchercie @Uchercie
VIN @vinxxchen
William Zou @zouwilliam
Xicheng Lu @breadquinnn
Xinyu Xu @xinyuiris
Yige Tong @y11ge
Zhu qia @zhu_qia
Zhikang Cai @kaia1o
Zinong Zhang @zinong.zhang
Zeus Li @lizeqize

Exhibition images: