Suspension of Disbelief


TANK Shanghai presents Suspension of Disbelief, a group exhibition featuring works by Agnes Meyer-Brandis, Florencia Rodríguez Giles, Lea Guldditte Hestelund, Ursula Mayer, Himali Singh Soin, Tai Shani, Song Kun, and Nora Turato. Curated by Mirela Baciak, Irene Campolmi, Helena Lugo, and Daniela Ruiz Moreno––the awardees of TANK CURATOR Prize. The exhibition is on view from 8 February through 18 June 2023. 


Creating fictions, inventing otherworldliness, dreaming and performing the speculative allow us to experience the world beyond the rules of logic. Suspension of Disbelief welcomes the improbable, the uncertain, and the unthinkable, creating a journey that draws back the human will to fantasy through the works of seven international artists. Each artist produces their own cosmologies, seducing the audience into worlds in which languages are volatile, times and identities fluid, humans co-exist equally with, and learn from other species. 


Suspending disbelief involves self-awareness. It is the moment of poetic faith in which we know we are facing an illusion, yet we willingly surrender ourselves to it. A feeling similar to witnessing a magic trick, in which the rabbit vanishes inside the hat, just to reappear on the table a bit later; we indulge in aesthetic estrangement of the implausible, not because it escapes our logic, but because we desire it. The artists in the exhibition alter the reality we seem to know, and through that, offer us a possibility to temporarily experience the world and one’s own position in it, differently. 


Enchanting in nature, the works operate as a transient place from which we can encounter imaginary perspectives thatif we are luckymay impact our shared reality. In the universe that the exhibition creates geese can fly to the moon, ghosts traverse time and space to tell us their stories, we think like islands, visit extinct landscapes, and become part of technologies that are at the same time part of us. Yet the exhibition also tells us about the existing world; speculative narratives are also a means of critically examining and pointing to the bleakness of our society, the limitations of our mind’s constructions, and the necessity to open ourselves towards the yet unknown. 


TANK CURATOR Prize was awarded to the curatorial team of Suspension of Disbelief in November 2019 in the aftermath of the second edition of the Shanghai Curators Lab. The jury consisted of Qiao Zhibing, founder and director of TANK Shanghai, Wang Dawei, the Executive Dean of Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts (SAFA), Yongwoo Lee, professor at SAFA, Carol Lu Yinghua, director of the Inside-Out Art Museum Beijing, as well as curator-duo Sam Bardaouil & Till Fellrath, founders of curatorial collective artReoriented in Munich and New York, current artistic directors of Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, and lead professors of Shanghai Curators Lab II in 2019.