Lin Wang: Tenant, Tranant, Trance / An Interstice Occupied by Uncanny Cyborgs

  • Location:
    Gallery Sensei | 135 Eldridge Street, New York, NY, 10002

Lin Wang: Tenant, Tranant, Trance

Opening from Tue Jul 18, From 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
On View Tue Jul 18 - Thu Jul 20
Gallery Sensei | 135 Eldridge Street
Curated by Yangxingyue Wang

In Tenant, Tranant, Trance, “tranant,” taking components from its two adjacent words, coincides with a variant of “trānō,” a Latin word meaning “permeate” or “penetrate.” The sequence sounds like balderdash. Whereas it epitomizes the process of a being transforming from a corporeal, concrete body into what is fluid and elusive.

With the above as a premise, Lin Wang creates a psychedelic domestic setting that is breathing vigorously. What unfolds in front of the spectator is an array of home appliances. The corporeal traces of some “prior tenants” are left in these machines, underneath which secret souls form and grow.

A large ceiling fan rotates its intimidating hairy wings. Massage cushions, covered by wigs, squirm and glow on the floor and plinths. A set of box fans spin at different rates, attached to which is synthetic hair of different colors, textures, and weights. The back of a chair wields its “arms” and draws in the air. Here, the disturbing moments of daily life, such as hair in the vent and drain, has been enchanted and turned into a poetic, futuristic scenario.

Also on view are paintings that are parallel to and indicative of the narrative in the exhibited installations. In Inside-Out and Reborn, the artist’s self-portraits morph into other forms. Omnipresent in these series are the exuberant threads and the alluring hair, extending the force of life from one living entity to another, alluding to the imagery of conjoined twins and disrupting the substantiality of the physical body.

Synthetic hair, as the medium articulating the artist’s practice, enables layered interpretations. Hair, as a component of the physical body, usually indicates the corporeal manifestation of an individual; whereas the material used in this exhibit, artificial in nature, alienates the term “hair” from what is natural and personal. The artificiality is reinforced through the wigs’ alignment with machines as well as their serial presence. This duality of synthetic hair has thus led to a question: is it still possible to define the boundary of the human body as we become irredeemably reliant on what used to be alien, such as machines, chemicals, and the digital?

Whether it be a metamorphic organism or a cyborg, the grotesque, uncanny creatures tap into our body panic deep down. Are they the aliens taking over our apartments when we are out? Do they represent the emancipatory power against the human skin? Or are they the future imagery of ourselves as ghosts locked within shells?


Born in Liaoning, China, ​Lin Wang​ received her BFA in painting from China Central Academy of Fine Arts, and her MFA in Painting, Installation, and Performance from Tufts University-School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Her work has been exhibited at One World Trade Center, Metropolitan Pavilion, Ceres Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts, and Su Jia Art Museum in China. She finished her residency at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts last year. Lin Wang currently lives and works in New York.