Wu Tsang: Of Whales
February 21, 2023 - June 11, 2023
Museum Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza:
P.º del Prado, 8, 28014

Wu Tsang never paid Moby-Dick much thought until a friend suggested the conceptual artist pore through Herman Melville’s epic novel for insight into its loaded treatment of social hierarchy and capitalism. Her findings inform Of Whales, a poetic reinterpretation of the whale’s story from below the ocean’s surface broadcast across a 52-foot-long LED screen. It also sparked a silent, feature-length film adaptation that recasts two of the novel’s main characters—Ishmael and Queequeg—as unlikely lovers within the sex-positive community of the Pequod, who sport costumes by Telfar Clemens. Both works illustrate the immensity of the ocean, which comes to symbolize the unknown—and the obliqueness of human perspective.

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