Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, which has locations in London, Paris, Salzburg, and Seoul, has added London-based artist Zadie Xa to its roster. The rising artist will be included in Ropac’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong, and she will have her first solo show with the gallery in March 2024 at its Paris Marais location.
Working across performance, textiles, paintings, and video, Xa draws on her lived experience as a Korean Canadian woman for an experimental practice that focuses on the nuances of living in diaspora and the legacies and histories that often come with that experience.
“Narrative storytelling is a way in which I’m able to enter different worlds and think about what’s happening within the sociopolitical contemporaneously to me. My work is pushing back against that monolithic idea of what the centrepoint of culture is,” Xa said in a statement.
Dealer Thaddaeus Ropac added, “Zadie Xa is an incredibly dynamic artist who combines materials and mediums in an experimental and progressive way. Her distinctive voice questions how we form our identity, bringing diverse motifs and imagery into dialogue across her wide-ranging practice.”
Xa is currently the subject of a major survey at Whitechapel Gallery in London, and this week posters by the artist will debut outside the Whitechapel Tube station as part of Art on the Underground. Xa’s work is also on view as part of “Beautiful Repair: Mending in Art and Fashion” at Copenhagen Contemporary, and has a show opening at Space K Seoul in July.
She has also frequently collaborated with artist Benito Mayor Vallejo, most recently in staging a performance together at the National Gallery London in 2021. Additionally, Xa staged another as part of the 2019 Venice Biennale’s performance program.
Xa has also received major curatorial support from Legacy Russell, executive director and chief curator of the Kitchen, who authored the influential text Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto. Russell included her work in “The Condition of Being Addressable,” a 2022 group exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and in multiple iterations of “Bend” and “The New Bend,” group shows staged at mega-gallery Hauser & Wirth.
Xa is one of several artists to receive new representation ahead of ABHK, including the Robert Rauschenberg estate with Gladstone Gallery, Sung Neung Kyung with Lehmann Maupin, and joint representation by Pace Gallery and PKM for Yoo Youngkuk. That all these galleries plan to bring work by these newly added artists to the fair is a sure sign that gallerists still perceive Art Basel Hong Kong as one of Asia’s top fairs, where high-level sales are sure to happen. No such announcements came ahead of Asia’s two new fairs: Frieze Seoul in September and Singapore’s Art SG in January.
Ahead of her joining the gallery, Xa was included a three-person exhibition, “Myths of Our Time,” at Ropac’s Seoul location that closed in February. For its ABHK booth, the gallery will showcase two robe works alongside pieces by Mandy El-Sayegh, Rachel Jones, Ali Banisadr, Joseph Beuys, and others.
“Modes of textile production have become a central strand in Xa’s practice,” Ropac explained in an email. “Inspired by traditional Korean garments and quilting techniques, as well as fashion trends familiar to the artist from her upbringing in Canada, hooded robes are set within striking patchwork frames. The works fuse autobiographical references—such as the artist’s year of birth (1983)—with traditional forms to visualise Xa’s exploration of diasporic identity and the role of clothing in acts of self-presentation.”
In an email, Xa added, “Clothing allows you to change who you are. It mediates the person that you, on that particular day, wish to present to the world.”