Artists Daniel Lie
Curator Bernardo Mosqueira, ISLAA Curatorial Fellow
Venue New Museum, NY
All images Courtesy by the artist and New Museum, NY
Since 2010, Lie has been using organic materials to create largescale pieces that simultaneously grow and decay. Unnamed Entities (2022) is an expansive installation created specifically for the Museum’s Lobby Gallery. The work incorporates traditional terracotta ceramic vases, jute hemp fabric, natural fiber ropes, straw hay bales, mud with spores and seeds, and thousands of cut flowers. These materials will evolve and transmutate throughout the exhibition as they rot, mold, sprout, and change shapes and hues in unpredictable ways. Lie understands their works as living entities endowed with awareness and agency, and considers the process of rotting as a way to complicate the binary opposition between life and death.
Building on legacies of migration and queer studies, Lie’s work demonstrates how abjection can be a tool of subversion and expansion. Their practice celebrates natural cycles of transformation and the many interdependent exchanges that structure ecosystems. A fundamental aspect of Daniel Lie’s practice is their desire to develop works which de-center human agency and subjectivity. Working in collaboration with forces they term “other-than-human beings,” such as bacteria, fungi, plants, animals, minerals, spirits, and ancestors, Lie creates site- and time-specific works that can be experienced through multisensory channels. By giving visibility to materials that transmutate, decay, and evolve, Lie’s ecosystems highlight the intimate yet expansive coexistences among diverse beings, acknowledging our shared and continuous participation in the processes of living, dying, and rotting. Unnamed Entities provides a space for meditation about time and exalts experiences of surviving, remembering, and mourning.