Art that’s not to be sneezed at

Taiwanese artist Wu Chi-Tsung with his exhibition dust at the Site Gallery, Sheffield
Taiwanese artist Wu Chi-Tsung with his exhibition dust at the Site Gallery, Sheffield

Nothing is as insignificant as dust.

At best, we wipe it away, at worst, we don’t even notice it.

Yet the Site Gallery has made the enemy of the house-proud the subject of a brand new exhibition.

The aptly-entitled Dust show celebrates the work of Taiwanese artist Wu Chi-Tsung, who has captured the beauty of dust on his projected, magnified images.

Curator Sara Cluggish said: “Chi-Tsung calls our attention to the particles we wouldn’t normally see with the naked eye.

“These particles just don’t grab our attention on an everyday basis.”

“But that’s what makes his work so captivating,” she says.

“He experiments with everyday phenomena.

“None of his materials are precious and the technology he uses is really simple but it invites the audience to view this phenomena in a novel way.”

But Chi-Tsung’s work isn’t just about dust – in spite of the exhibition’s title.

The artist used the same uncomplicated technology – a projector and LED light - to create his piece Crystal City 003.

A light on a track moves across his ‘city’ – piles of clear plastic boxes.

Again, it’s a piece whose enchantment is in its simplicity.

The piece is split into two constructed parts, each representing an ‘area’ of a city.

“I wanted to build two halves of a capital city with clear plastic boxes,” said Chi-Tsung.

“One half is a city that’s an abandoned and ruined place, like when businesses construct huge buildings and leave them empty, and the other half is the bit where the people live.

“But these highly-populated outskirt areas tend to be messy and busy, with lots of digging as the city expands.”

Interestingly, the idea for Crystal City 003 came from the internet.

“I was thinking about Cyber Space and how it is also a place where we all exist, but it’s also about the rapid expansion of cities like Beijing and many other city centres.”

Only Chi-Tsung’s city is not built from state-of-the-art construction materials, it’s formed from the basic, commonplace clear plastic boxes that line any supermarket shelf.

Once again, Chi-Tsung takes something we see for granted and makes us rethink the way we see it.

The ideas and techniques behind the Dust exhibition were originally tested during Wu’s Site Gallery residency in 2006.

The artist has already exhibited at the Shanghai Biennial in China and is about to start a residence in New York, working on his abstract paintings.

With Dust on show at the Site Gallery, you’ll certainly think twice before you reach for the duster.

The exhibition ends on May 31.