Sihan Ling and David Stearn: Nowhere via Anywhere

Sihan Ling and David Stearn

Nowhere via Anywhere

10 – 26 March 2022

OPENING Thursday 10 March, 6 – 8 pm

Nowhere via Anywhere acknowledges the gallery space as a transient zone, temporary territory where the dialogue of the studio is incubated within a white cube for a set period of time. Sihan Ling and David Stearn have concocted a cross-cultural dialogue within the parameters of Palfrey. 

Sihan Ling’s Chinese heritage informs his outlook as a London-based artist. With a focus on the dialogues around translation and communication between different cultures in the context of globalisation, Ling explores new forms of empirical and shared knowledge. Oscillating between installation, video essay, performance and dialogical pieces, he often reconstructs cultural references within items by altering their original formats. This alteration is done in humorous ways such as coating readymade inflated supports in sheaths and printed fabrics of his own concoction often featuring re-appropriated aspects of Chinese culture, such a out-dated martial arts posters issued by the communist party. Running though all Ling’s work is a frantic urgency to deliver ideas.

This same energy is at play in the artistic attitude and output of David Stearn. Frequently appearing ethereal in nature, Stearn’s works occupy a tense liminal space. One piece is liable to consume another with only the lightest intervention. Ironic distance weights heavy against pieces slight in their nature and materiality, but laden with quick-fire humour and physical distortion. It is this duality of material ease and conceptual thoughtfulness that makes for semi-reticent and semi-sincere pieces. Materials are quietly adapted, nudged, shifted and slowly contorted to present a re-engineering of pre-existing objects (such as buckets or bicycle wheels) whilst offering, yet often concealing and withholding, the aspect of labour in the making. Representing a parallel activity from a practice predominantly pivoted around film and performance, Stearn presents a new body of sculptures and midpoints for Nowhere via Anywhere.

Sihan Ling (b.1996) completed his MFA at Goldsmiths University in 2021. Recent group exhibitions include: London Grads Now 21, Saatchi Gallery, London (2021 – 22); Ghost Show, hARTslane Art Organisation, London (2021); HDL, Xxijra Hii Gallery, London (2021); STOREYS, Swiss Church, London (2021); ACCESS (ANNEXE), Seager Gallery, London (2021); The Division: Silent Ecological Individuation, La Demeur Des Artiest, Paris (2021); Forms of Resistance, Goldsmiths CCA, London (2020); Voice and Block, LAFA Cultural Center, Shenyang (2019);  Turn A Blind Eye To, Gessoisland Gallery, Shenyang, China (2019).

David Stearn (b.1986) graduated from Royal College of Art in 2017. He is active as a sculptor, filmmaker, and performance artist. Recent exhibitions include The Day of the Triffids (ep.2), News of the World, London (2018); Immateriality, Sonic Arts Tour, U.K. (2019); The Potion Room, Subsidiary Projects, London (2019). Since 2019 he has been an associated artist with Parlour Collective, the group’s residences and awards include Surndal Billag residency, Surndalsora, Norway (2021 and 2019), Winner of Short Film Factory, Best Nature short for Scenes Overheard; Official selection, Bulgaria Film Festival Shifting Landscapes (2021); Berlin Film Festival (2021).

David Stearn, They come as a pair, 2022, bike rims, hessian rope, heat shrink nautical rubber, 72 x 2.8cm
Sihan Ling, Nothing is Not No Thing, 2022, 9 customised stickers, dimensions variable
David Stearn, Smile (as one door closes another one halves), 2022, oak panelled door, LCD display heater, 115 x 85 x 30 cm
Sihan Ling, ART BEST / AT REST, 2021, inflatable bed, printed wool, silk, digital embroidery, glow in the dark thread, 208 x 80 x 90 cm
David Stearn, Flight, 2022, fluorescent strip light, rubber eel, 150 x 2.5 x 25 cm
Sihan Ling, Anywhere, 2022, 3D print with black filament, 8 x 24 x 24 cm
Sihan Ling, The Customisation of Standardisation, 2021, duvet, printed wool silk, horn button, 24 x 66 x 45 cm
David Stearn, The day you gave up on your boots I gave up on mine, 2022, leather boots, clear resin, size 8/45
David Stearn, Where it all began, 2022, poylmer cast door key, dimensions variable

photography: Damian Griffiths

© PALFREY 2022