Artists Space

Tiffany Sia:
Slippery When Wet

February 17 – May 1, 2021

Artists Space is pleased to present Tiffany Sia's first institutional exhibition, on view in bifurcated forms in our 11 Cortlandt Alley space and online, to allow for greater access to the geographically-dispersed community of Hong Kongers throughout the world.

Slippery When Wet proposes a wet ontology of Hong Kong—a city in ongoing transfiguration shifting into an uncanny vision of itself. Hong Kong secretes, leaving a trail of ink, tears, humidity, logistic flows, and leaks. The works herein usurp these fraught channels to make the shortest distance between two places: between New York and Hong Kong; between Artists Space and Speculative Place (the artist’s residency program and project space on Lamma Island). Within the installation, an obsessive material accumulation suggests spectatorship, reading, and viewing as discursive sites between geographies.

Emanating from the newly published Too Salty Too Wet 更咸更濕, these works on paper and in moving image propose a poetics through a multitude of temporal frames. Across a series of ten THREADS, they wrestle with the slipperiness of the original place as it recedes into the imaginary: An image of the Hong Kong skyline flickers as a projection in a lounge space. From March 14–20th, a weeklong, episodic live-streamed landscape film broadcasts both at Artists Space and online, marking the changeover to daylight savings when New York and Hong Kong are in exact antipodes in timezone. A row of books‬ serves as the show’s vertebrae, and sits as a mirrored barrier on a shelf, slowly disappearing over time. A three-channel video cycles through archival weather reports. Humidity accumulates on the windows. A blank scroll precariously blows in the vestibule. One scrolls through a seemingly endless, and authorized, full leak of Too Salty Too Wet 更咸更濕 on dot-matrix paper.

The haptics of moving images and paper precipitate, tracing a slippery outline of relations, timelines, and place. Sia asks, "How can I dig your way to Hong Kong?"

Tiffany Sia is an artist, filmmaker and founder of Speculative Place. She is the author of 咸濕 Salty Wet, a series of anti-travelogues on smut, affect and history of Hong Kong. A chapbook, in the disguise of a vintage softcore porn magazine, it was published by Inpatient Press. Sia is the director of the short, experimental film Never Rest/Unrest, which screened as part of a retrospective in the Propositions program at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival. She is also part of Home Cooking, an artist collective founded by Asad Raza, on which she contributes the performance and reading series Hell is a Timeline.

A photograph of a gallery space with a long rectangular table and chair in the background. In the foreground is a bookshelf with a row of books with silver covers.
Tiffany Sia: Slippery When Wet. Installation view, Artists Space, 2021. Courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak [A photograph of a gallery space with a long rectangular table and chair in the background. In the foreground is a bookshelf with a row of books with silver covers.]
A photograph of a bookshelf lined with books covered in silver mylar.
Tiffany Sia, Barriers Buy Time, 2021. Courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak [A photograph of a bookshelf lined with books covered in silver mylar.]
A photograph of a gallery space with dark grey walls. Eight photographs and print-outs are hung on the walls, and to the right of them is a wooden bench.
Tiffany Sia, The Bastard Scroll (detail view), 2021. Courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak [A photograph of a gallery space with dark grey walls. Eight photographs and print-outs are hung on the walls, and to the right of them is a wooden bench.]
A photograph of a black table next to a black chair. The end of a long sheet of white paper on the table rests on the chair.
Tiffany Sia, The Bastard Scroll (detail view), 2021. Courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak [A photograph of a black table next to a black chair. The end of a long sheet of white paper on the table rests on the chair.]
A photograph of a gallery space with a long rectangular table and a black chair. On the table is a long sheet of white paper. In the corner hangs eight photographs and print-outs next to a wooden bench.
Tiffany Sia, The Bastard Scroll, 2021. Courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak [A photograph of a gallery space with a long rectangular table and a black chair. On the table is a long sheet of white paper. In the corner hangs eight photographs and print-outs next to a wooden bench.]
A row of books with silver covers on a shelf. A black table and chair can be seen in the reflection of the book cover.
Tiffany Sia, Barriers Buy Time, 2021. Courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak [A row of books with silver covers on a shelf. A black table and chair can be seen in the reflection of the book cover.]
A photograph of a gallery space with eight photographs and print-outs hung on the walls next to a wooden bench. In the foreground, there is an orange LED light on the floor.
Tiffany Sia, In Plain Sight (detail view), 2021. Courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak [A photograph of a gallery space with eight photographs and print-outs hung on the walls next to a wooden bench. In the foreground, there is an orange LED light on the floor.]
A close-up photograph of an orange LED light on the gallery floor. Black vinyl on the floor in front of the LED reads, "SIGHT]."
Tiffany Sia, In Plain Sight (detail view), 2021. Courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak [A close-up photograph of an orange LED light on the gallery floor. Black vinyl on the floor in front of the LED reads, "SIGHT]."]
A photograph of a gallery space with a black rectangular table and a chair in the foreground. There are eight photographs and print-outs hung on the back walls, and a row of floor-to-ceiling columns is visible in the background.
Tiffany Sia: Slippery When Wet. Installation view, Artists Space, 2021. Courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak [A photograph of a gallery space with a black rectangular table and a chair in the foreground. There are eight photographs and print-outs hung on the back walls, and a row of floor-to-ceiling columns is visible in the background.]
A long sheet of paper is suspended over the gallery floor. Handrails for the stairs are visible on each side of the photograph.
Tiffany Sia, The Bastard Tongue (detail view), 2021. Courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak [A long sheet of paper is suspended over the gallery floor. Handrails for the stairs are visible on each side of the photograph.]
A long sheet of white paper is suspended across multiple floors. Handrails for the second floor are visible in the background.
Tiffany Sia, The Bastard Tongue (detail view), 2021. Courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak [A long sheet of white paper is suspended across multiple floors. Handrails for the second floor are visible in the background.]
A long sheet of white paper, hung vertically, is attached to a stack of paper on the gallery floor.
Tiffany Sia, The Bastard Tongue (detail view), 2021. Courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak [A long sheet of white paper, hung vertically, is attached to a stack of paper on the gallery floor.]
A view of the door to Artists Space from outside. The glass in the door is foggy; inside, a few dark shapes are visible.
Tiffany Sia, Too Wet (detail view), 2021. Courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak [A view of the door to Artists Space from outside. The glass in the door is foggy; inside, a few dark shapes are visible.]
A photograph of three TV screens stacked on top of each other. Two small speakers are visible on either side of the TV screens.
Tiffany Sia, A Wet Finger in the Air, 2021. Courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak [A photograph of three TV screens stacked on top of each other. Two small speakers are visible on either side of the TV screens.]
A photograph of a foggy gallery window. The words on the windowsill read "THREAD VII (TOO WET)."
Tiffany Sia, Too Wet (detail view), 2021. Courtesy Artists Space, New York. Photo: Filip Wolak [A photograph of a foggy gallery window. The words on the windowsill read "THREAD VII (TOO WET)."]

Support is provided by Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, The Cowles Charitable Trust, The Cy Twombly Foundation, The David Teiger Foundation, The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The New York Community Trust, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, The Willem de Kooning Foundation, The Danielson Foundation, The Fox Aarons Foundation, Herman Goldman Foundation, The Destina Foundation, The Luce Foundation, May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, VIA Art Fund, Arison Arts Foundation, The Chicago Community Fund, The David Rockefeller Fund, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, The Jill and Peter Kraus Foundation, The Richard Pousette-Dart Foundation.