Heading into the forest, never to walk back again: An exhibition with Michelle Chang Qin and Mickey Yang, curated by Sergi Rusca

This show is an exploration of author J.G. Ballard’s science fiction through the artistic practices of Michelle Chang Qin and Mickey Yang.

In J. G. Ballard’s novel The Crystal World (1966), doctor Edward Sanders begins a journey through a Cameroonian forest to reach a leprosy facility to pay a visit to his friends. With time, he becomes aware of a strange phenomenon occurring in the forest: the nature, animals, and even humans that live in it are progressively crystallising, becoming suspended in time and in life in morbidly mesmerising crystals. Despite the horrible prospect, a mysterious allure refrains people from leaving the forest, as if spellbound by the beautiful yet threatening surroundings.

As a response to Ballard’s ambiguous forest – a paradise and a coffin at once – both artists create sensory thresholds that call for a reflection and embracement of our natural, socio-political, and personal ecologies and the critical state in which they are found presently. In Michelle and Mickey’s practices there is a constant renegotiation with objects, their materialities, and their origins. Interested in the formation of synthetic spaces for artistic experimentation, both artists probe into deconstructing and rebuilding our material culture while blurring the lines between image and illusion. It is precisely their speculative visual language and their contribution to holistic knowledges that create the framework of this show: upon the realisation that we are decaying together with our surroundings, what kinds of coexistences can be enunciated thereafter?