In “Liquid Circuit,” Tishan Hsu’s first museum survey in the United States, 30-odd sculptures capture states of consciousness as each appears suspended between the organic and the automated. Body parts are encased in glass-like lab specimens; elbows meld into navels metamorphose into nipples; eyes emerge from the shimmer of television screens.
Hsu keyed in early to the twinned promise and threat of technological advancement. He began considering robotics’ and artificial intelligence’s impact on humanity and human bodies in the mid-1980s, when the earliest works in this exhibition date. Created around the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic, these pieces take on renewed meaning during the present pandemic: as gridded bathroom tiles give rise to fleshy orifices, punctured with the clinical stainless steel of lab equipment.
Tishan Hsu, Liquid Circuit, 1987. Acrylic, vinyl cement compound, alkyd, oil, aluminum on wood, 90 x 143 x 9 inches. Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis. Gift of Dolly J. Fiterman. Photo: Kyle Knodell.