Play Without Play
Ling-lin Ku
Recent Sculptural Installations

March 16 - April 7
Opening Reception: Friday, March 16th, 7-10pm

Play Without Play

Play has its own etiquette, rituals and ceremonies, its own absolute rules. As Johan Huizinga notes in Homo Ludens, a classic study of play and culture, play "creates order, is order. Into an imperfect world and into the confusion of life it brings a temporary, limited perfection. The least deviation from it spoils the game." These are the basic rules of all forms of play. But play also has its own distinctive psychology. Above all, play requires freedom. - Diane Ackerman, Deep Play

As adults, our imaginations are under constant threat of being smoothed out and thinned down by the demands of contemporary life. Ling-lin Ku keeps her imagination alive by looking at objects as being unfixed, plastic, liquid and slippery things that resist a static name; she prefers to approach objects and content as materials that stretch and warp, believing that when objects refuse easy genre placement, our sense of the familiar is challenged and new genres open.  

Using play as a tool of being - of becoming - that acts simultaneously in celebration and critique of mainstream culture, Ku shows her versions of “regular” things. Using digital scanning and rendering processes, she fuses mundane things into unknown hybrids. The gap between tangible materials and dematerialized data is where she renders, blends, and replicates a range of household objects. Through the play of visual free association, she creates a space to float above our conventional understandings of the physical world, where seemingly familiar objects can have hybrid identities: a four-foot tall wishbone is also a pair of legs, so Ku sews a custom stocking for it, stores a chunk of “butt”er on the shelf and designs fetish footwear for the foot of the table. Ling-lin Ku plays at the intersection of language, daydreaming, and materiality, walking the tightrope of innocence and deviance, and celebrating the slapstick routine built into that balancing act.

Ling-lin Ku is a Taiwan born, U.S. based artist currently living and working in Austin, Texas. In addition to being an artist Ku has a background in music and law. Ku has a degree in Law at Taiwan and a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2016. Ku was selected to participate in the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in Brooklyn, NYC in 2017 and Vermont Studio Center in 2018. Ku was the 2017-2018 recipient of the College of Fine Arts Fellowship at UT Austin, Vikki Katen scholarship, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society award, and the Taiwanese Education Ministry scholarship. Her current group exhibitions include Time Share at Chelsea, NYC and 11 Strangers at the Visual Arts Center at Austin, TX. Ku is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Austin’s Sculpture and Extended Media Program.