Heather Phillipson, Ingrid Pollard, Veronica Ryan and none other than current Elephant cover artist Sin Wai Kin have today been announced as the 2022 Turner Prize nominees at Tate Liverpool. We couldn’t be more thrilled at Elephant to congratulate Sin Wai Kin on their nomination. They appear on our current Spring Summer 2022 special cover alongside former Turner Prize winner Tai Shani, while our main release cover features performance art legend Marina Abramović.
Canadian-born Sin Wai Kin uses speculative fiction within performance, moving image, writing, and print to question constructed identity categories and binary conceptions of consciousness. Their work uses storytelling to create fantasy narratives which interrupt normative processes of desire, identification, and objectification. They were nominated for their involvement in the British Art Show 9 and their solo presentation at Blindspot Gallery, Frieze London.
“To have a truly feminist, queer, post-colonial practice you must be constantly open to change,” Sin states in their Elephant in-conversation with friend and mentor Tai Shani. Sin’s 2021 film Dream of Wholeness in Parts was inspired by Chuang Tzu’s Dream of the Butterfly (c. 300 BC), an allegory in which the ancient Taoist philosopher has a dream that he is a butterfly so vivid, that he wakes up unsure which state of consciousness is imagined.
In the film, Sin plays three characters, each grappling with binary notions of reality. Each of the protagonists wear makeup influenced by archetypes from Peking and Cantonese Opera. Sin uses these hybrid personas to subvert not just gender binaries, but also those of self and other, thinking and feeling, life and death, dreaming and waking, reality and fantasy.
“I don’t want to make drag that is about what I want to take off, I want to make drag about what I’m putting on,” they say. “What can masculinity look like and feel like?” In Elephant, Sin stars in a wedding-themed shoot alongside Shani photographed by Hidhir Badaruddin. Sin is the groom, Shani the blushing bride, exemplifying the pair’s long-standing exploration of gender norms and expectations, as well as their celebration of collaboration and the transformative potential of performance.
An exhibition of each of the nominees’ work will be held at Tate Liverpool from 20 October 2022 to 19 March 2023. The winner will be announced in December at an award ceremony in Liverpool.
Louise Benson is Elephant’s deputy editor