ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
In Marcos Kueh’s textile installation 福禄寿: Three Contemporary Prosperities, we encounter an animated conversation of color, pattern, and symbol. The installation encompasses eight tapestries of varying sizes, carefully arranged by the artist to afford a view of both the front and reverse sides. Kueh encourages us to move between perspectives on observing, to create multiple encounters while we meditate on the meaning of “prosperity” in modern times.
Kueh’s study of prosperity is driven by an urge to deepen his understanding of his Chinese-Malaysian cultural background. He has become fascinated with the three popular Chinese gods of fortune: the Fú Lù Shòu (福禄寿). Each of these three gods embodies a different form of fortune. Fú (福) stands for prosperity or wealth; Lù (禄) for reputation or nobility, and Shòu (寿) for longevity or eternity. Kueh weaves these attributes into his works through written text, Chinese characters and symbols that refer to the excessive accumulation of wealth and influence by companies like Amazon and Facebook. Under these circumstances – what does it mean to wish someone wealth, reputation, and eternal life in today’s world? Kueh takes a critical look at these blessings by depicting Fú as a millionaire, Lù as a social influencer, and Shòu as a post-human cyborg.
As we continue our exploration of “prosperity” in the contemporary, we encounter a four-meter-long tapestry depicting the most supreme deity of the Chinese pantheon: the Jade Emperor (玉皇大帝, Yù Huáng Dà Dì). Here, we as viewers literally sit at the feet of this great emperor and, as the title suggests, Under God’s Eye places us right beneath his gaze. Kueh deliberately shows only the back side of the work, where the colors are decidedly more muted and the weave threads more fluid and painterly. In this tapestry the reverse side is especially less illustrative – becoming a scene where Kueh erodes the material notion of prosperity in pursuit of the spiritual.
During the exhibition, we also present the first solo exhibition Botanical Body Bliss by Hadassah Emmerich.