Iceland & China

Inga Svala Thorsdottir & Wu Shanzhuan

Artist Profiles > W > Inga Svala Thorsdottir & Wu Shanzhuan

During the four-week residency at STPI in 2013, both artists worked like scientists in a laboratory, investigating how base units such as a line, shape or pattern from which all physical forms in the universe acquire their meaning. Their exploration concluded in an exhibition of over 30 new works presenting the artists’ evolving humanist ideology in print and paper.


Starting with the artists’ foundational symbol, the ‘Perfect Bracket’ is defined by the overlap of both arcs of a bracket and subversion of common thought for brackets to include or exclude anything. This central motif is the basis of their work that continues to evolve into complex geometrical formations and new philosophical insights, as evident in the polygonal shapes of Seven Circles Little Fat Flesh, What A Form, Little Fat Flesh and infinite tessellations in the Perimeter of Little Fat Flesh series.


The enigmatic arctic fox is recognised for its adaptation to changing arctic conditions and embodies the artists’ concern of human impact on nature. World Map-Arctic Fox Arc-Temperature War 2013 presents the possibility of Earth’s recovery through the artists’ symbolic illustrations on maps that make counterpoints on the ‘temperature war’ and ecological threats today, just as Joseph Beuys was stamping crosses on things to heal.


Wu Shanzhuan is one of the leading figures of the 1980’s pre-Tiananmen Square generation of Chinese Conceptualists, and Inga Svala Thorsdottir started Thor’s Daughter Pulverizing Service in 1993 reducing all things back to its powder form. In 1991, Thorsdottir documented Wu urinating into a replica of Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain to restore the urinal back to its original purpose and hence the establishment of the constitution Thing’s Right(s) in 1994.
Thorsdottir and Wu have exhibited widely with solo exhibitions: What a Form: A Reportage, OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, 2013: kuo xuan, Long March Space, Beijing, 2011; Thing’s Right(s) 09 The More, Wu Shanzhuan, Red Humour International & Inga Svala Thorsdottir, Thor’s Daughter’s Pulverization Service, Shanghai Gallery of Art, Three on the Bund, Shanghai, 2009 and Thing’s Right(s) – New York 2001, Making Your Own Nationality, Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, New York. They live and work in Hamburg, Shanghai and Reykjavík.

Click here for available works.