London | Beijing

Tabula Rasa: Unveiled 

Nell Brookfield, Katarina Caserman, Kristy M Chan, Zoe Marden, Teresa Murta, Xiao Hanqiu, Yuan Yuan, Eva Yi Zhang, Tant Zhong, Dan Zhu
02 November - 18 November, 2023
No.9 Cork Street, London  

Tabula Rasa Gallery presents “Tabula Rasa: Unveiled”, a group show featuring a constellation of the gallery’s female artists at No.9 Cork Street, including Nell Brookfield, Katarina Caserman, Kristy M Chan, Zoe Marden, Teresa Murta, Xiao Hanqiu, Yuan Yuan, Eva Yi Zhang, Tant Zhong and Dan Zhu at No.9 Frieze Cork Street.

Revisiting the gallery's founding philosophy, the notion of tabula rasa, the exhibition brings the viewers into a realm where the very concept of a "blank slate" evolves into a vast canvas for boundless exploration. Stemming from thinkers like Aristotle and Plato in the ancient times, 'tabula rasa' suggests that the human mind starts as an empty canvas, shaped by experiences. In our intricate contemporary society, one's experience is a complex weaving of threads from myriad societal and personal dimensions, enabling “tabula rasa" to take on fresh significance. It is a concept redefined by the fusion of diverse realities. This exhibition delves into the resonance of this concept today, inviting artists to become navigators of identity and authenticity, threading through the layers of our reality to unveil concealed truths.

About the Artist

Nell Brookfield
Nell Brookfield (b. 1994, London) currently works and lives in London. Brookfield offers humorous and bizarre compositions taken from her everyday experiences. Inspired by people around London, films, and books, Nell paints from observation, memory and imagination with acrylic and oil paint on linen. Unexpected crops show intimate sections of what could be larger works, asking the viewer to imagine what might lie just beyond the composition. Each work is covered in detailed patterns and texture, accentuating the charged moments. Nell hopes the viewer will consider what it would be like to reach out and touch the fabrics she paints, or exist within the work.

Highlights of her recent exhibitions include NADA Miami 2023, presented by Tabula Rasa Gallery (Miami, 2023); Tabula Rasa: Unveiled, No.9 Cork Street (London, 2023); Real Plastic Roses, Duarte Sequeira Gallery (solo, Portugal, 2023); Platform: London by David Zwirner (London, 2022, online); The Sky Above the Roof, Tabula Rasa Gallery (Beijing, 2022); When the Knife Hits the Plate, Scream, Niru Ratnam Gallery (solo, London, 2022); just to name a few.

Nell Brookfield completed her postgraduate in Drawing from the Royal Drawing School in 2018 and received her BSc in Anthropology from UCL in 2017. She was awarded a residency at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2018. Between 2019 and 2020, Nell studied Drawing and Painting at the Pratt Institute in New York.

Katarina Caserman 
Katarina Caserman (b. 1996, Ljubljana, Slovenia) is a London-based artist. The challenge of representing nonmaterial matter is central to Caserman’s artistic inquiry. The artist sees that for each existing object, it requires a particular type of material to facilitate its growth, and within this process, the artist seeks to give form to the intangible. She recognises that thoughts, memories, and time exist beyond the bounds of our perceptible reality, yet they remain integral components of our lives. Her work aims to materialise these abstract concepts by imbuing them with tangible characteristics such as colour, shape, and movement.

Caserman’s first solo show with Tabula Rasa Gallery is scheduled in 2024 in Beijing. Her recent exhibitions include Tabula Rasa: Unveiled, No.9 Cork Street (London, 2023); Pandora (Sivi), Long Story Short (New York, 2023); Conscious Unconscious, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery (London, 2023); NADA Miami 2022, presented by Tabula Rasa Gallery (Miami, 2022); It is Better to be Cats than be Loved, Tabula Rasa Gallery (London, 2022); just to name a few. Her works can be found in Deji Art Museum, Nanjing, and many important private collections.

Caserman obtained her MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art in 2022 and her BA in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. She was awarded a Ministry of Culture of Slovenia’s Scholarship for Promising Young Artists (2020).  

Kristy M Chan
Kristy M Chan (b. 1997, Hong Kong) currently works and lives in London, and creates artworks that traverse figuration and abstraction, resulting in energetic, intuitive, and autobiographical compositions. Departing from surreal and bewildering moments in contemporary life, Chan describes her works as “stolen realities.” Primarily employing densely applied oil and oil stick, her paintings serve as visual archives of intense personal interactions amid the transient dynamism of the city. Living between Hong Kong and London, Chan incorporates subject matters from an outsider’s perspective, contemplating the interplay between her identity influenced by both Eastern and Western cultures. Chan is intrigued by extracting descriptive metaphors from literature and reimagining them in her own unique way.

Chan’s first solo show with Tabula Rasa Gallery is scheduled in 2024 in Beijing. Her recent solo exhibitions include Molehill Mountaineer, The Cabin (Los Angeles, 2023); Binge, The Artist Room and Simon Lee Gallery (London, 2022); Strong Cookie, Prior Art Space (Berlin, 2022); Totally Not, The Artist Room (London, 2021). Chan has also undertaken residencies at The Cabin, Los Angeles (2022–3); Del Arco Residency, Berlin (2022); PILOTENKUECHE, Leipzig (2020); and AiR Frosterus, Finland (2019). Her recent group exhibition include Tabula Rasa: Unveiled, No.9 Cork Street (London, 2023). Kristy M Chan completed her BFA at UCL Slade School of Fine Art in 2019 and her MA in Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

Zoë Marden
Zoë Marden (b.1985, Hong Kong) is an artist, filmmaker, and writer based in London. Marden works with performance, video, text, sound, sculpture and installation to create alternate worlds and speculative futures. Her research-focused works are concerned with Posthuman feminisms and where they overlap with the postcolonial. Her intimate performances play with the voice, activating soundscapes of desire and vulnerability. Recent projects have investigated the mythologies of witches and mermaids and their resonance within contemporary culture. She is part of the CAMPerVAN collective, a nomadic queer performance platform that has been active since 2016.

Her recent selected exhibitions include Tabula Rasa: Unveiled, No.9 Cork Street (London, 2023); Faces of Gaia, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery (Hong Kong, 2023); LUMA, AORA (London, 2023); Myth Makers—Spectrosynthesis III, Tai Kwun (Hongkong, 2022); Becoming Creature, Tabula Rasa Gallery (London, 2022); Marine Lovers...their fishy beginnings, V.O. Curations (solo, London, 2022). She obtained her MA degree from the Royal College of Art’s Moving Image in 2018.

Teresa Murta
Teresa Murta (b. 1993, Lisbon) is an artist based in Berlin. Through her paintings, Teresa delves into the realms of wonder, absurdity, and metamorphosis. With a unique intuition, she weaves together elements from both the artificial and natural worlds, offering viewers a gateway into alternate realities that beckon to be explored.

Highlights of recent exhibitions include: NADA Miami 2023, Tabula Rasa Gallery (Miami, 2023, upcoming); Purple Haze, But Better Together, Tabula Rasa Gallery (solo, London, 2023); Aftermath, Mazzini Gallery (group, Berlin, 2023); Fishnet, Instituto Camões (solo, Berlin, 2022); (0/1) O Zero e o Um, Natural History and Science Museum (group, Lisbon, 2022); Que te seja leve o peso das estrelas, Centro de Arte Contemporânea de Coimbra (group, Coimbra, 2022); Airbag, Galeria Aldama Fabre (solo, Bilbao, 2021); Whistle, Whistle, Galeria Nave (solo, Lisbon, 2021). Murta graduated with a BA degree in Fine Arts at the Upper School of Arts and Design in Caldas da Rainha in Portugal.

Xiao Hanqiu
Xiao Hanqiu (b.1986, Beijing, China) is a painter and a poet. Xiao’s paintings on canvas juxtapose objects in situations that conjure the ethereal magic and intensity of being. Her paintings operate like her poems: linear narrative is rejected in favour of open questions that reflect on the complexity, ineffability, and inconstancy of experience.  

Highlights of her recent group exhibitions include NADA Miami 2023, presented by Tabula Rasa Gallery (Miami, 2023, upcoming); Contemporary Myths and Artifacts (Stockholm, 2023); Tabula Rasa: Unveiled, No.9 Cork Street (London, 2023); Minor Attractions x Cornershop (London, 2023). Recent solo exhibitions include Love stories and horror stories, Lyles and King (solo, New York, 2022); LISTE Art Fair Basel 2021, presented by Tabula Rasa Gallery (dual solo, Basel, 2021); Honey, Bee, Tabula Rasa Gallery, (solo, London, 2021); Skating Through the Gallery with Tricksy Snakes, Tabula Rasa Gallery (solo, Beijing, 2018). She has published four poem collections: Losing Everything is Beautiful (2022), A Dream Comes True (2019), Three Minutes to Midnight Flower Thief (2018), and Four Hearts (2015).

Xiao received her MA Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2011, and BA Fine Art from Leeds University in 2008.

Yuan Yuan 

Yuan Yuan (b.1984) currently lives and works in Beijing, China. She is best recognised for her large scale paintings of flowers. Via Yuan Yuan’s large scale paintings, the flower appear to be a non-subjective object. The blossom on the still-standing branches is held by feather-like green leaves, occupying the frame freely and at the same time extending outside the picture, as if the flower itself is already in self-actualisation at a majestic posture before the depiction.  

Her recent exhibitions include Atum’s Tapping on Your Window, Tabula Rasa Gallery (offsite, Shanghai, 2023, upcoming); Tabula Rasa: Unveiled, No.9 Cork Street (London, 2023); ART SG, presented by Tabula Rasa Gallery (dual solo, Singapore, 2023); The Possibility of a Flower, Tabula Rasa Gallery (Beijing, 2022); The Logic of Painting, Xinjiang Art Museum (Urumqi, 2021); Animamix Biennial, 70 Years of Snoopy, Museum of Contemporary Art (Shanghai, 2020); Utopia / Dystopia, Dietz (Cologne, 2019); Shan Shui Within, Museum of Contemporary Art (Shanghai, 2016); China 8 Contemporary Art From China at Rhine & Ruhr, Osthaus (Hagen, 2015); and Curated by Yu Hong Pan Lin & Yuan Yuan: True False Objects, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing, 2010). Yuan Yuan graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Central Academy of Fine Arts.

Eva Yi Zhang
Eva Yi Zhang (b.1989, Chengdu, China) currently lives and works in Shanghai. Her works explore the experiences of women in both work and leisure life. Zhang taught herself sewing and fabric alteration techniques to create her works, which often involve dyeing, cutting, and patchwork of fabrics. She draws inspiration from her everyday experiences and historical texts such as “Nüshi Zhen Tu” to reimagine existing narratives about women. Her recent works explore the female body as a subject. In her pieces, parts of the body are depicted as broken steel bars, wooden blocks, thorns, or punctured and stretched to express the artist’s personal experiences of pain. The protruding and irregular shapes made from fabric in her works seem to reveal hidden secrets within the body.

Her recent exhibitions include Tabula Rasa: Unveiled, No.9 Cork Street (London, 2023); Asia NOW 2023, presented by Tabula Rasa Gallery (Paris, 2023); The Consolation of Clinamen, Tabula Rasa Gallery (Beijing, 2023); She/They, FERNWEH Space (Beijing, 2021); Watch the Fire from the Shore, LINSEED (Shanghai, 2021); Art021 Art Fair, Tabula Rasa Gallery (solo, Shanghai, 2021); Harmony, Powerlong Art Center (Shanghai, 2022); Roarrrrr, Tabula Rasa Gallery (solo, Beijing, 2021). Zhang holds a master’s degree from University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree from University of Minnesota.

Dan Zhu
Dan Zhu (b. 1985, Shenyang, China) lives and works between The Hague, Netherlands and Chengdu, China. Dan Zhu works across the medium of drawings, paintings, and murals. Her works are widely collected by public institutions and private collections, including the NOG Collectie of Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Schunck Museum, Ekard Collection Pereira Collection, and C.o.C.A Foundation (Collectors of Contemporary Art, Rotterdam). Zhu is the winner of C.o.C.A. Award (2020) and the Dutch Royal Modern Painting Prize (2020). Her mural painting commissioned by Schunck, was completed in 2021, Heerlen, the Netherlands. Zhu studied at the Kunst and Design University in Hessen, Germany (2010-2020) and at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, Netherlands (2018-2019).

Her recent solo exhibitions include Ferris Wheel Before Dawn, Tabula Rasa Gallery (Beijing, 2023); I thought it was dead, it thought it’s spring, Tabula Rasa Gallery (London, 2022); Night into Nights, Coca Award, Kunstinstituut Melly (Rotterdam, 2021). Recent group exhibitions include Tabula Rasa: Unveiled, No.9 Cork Street (London, 2023); TERRA, curated by Jenn Ellis and Emie Diamond (Burgundy, 2023); Paper Trails, Mendes Wood DM (Retranchement, 2023); Through Frozen Soil, Desert and Glacier, the 5th Global Overseas Chinese Artists Exhibition, He Xiangning Art Museum (Shenzhen, 2023); NADA Miami 2022, presented by Tabula Rasa Gallery (Miami, 2022); Départ, Galerie Maurits van de Laar (The Hague, 2022).

Tant Yunshu Zhong

Tant Yunshu Zhong (b. 1990, Wuhan, China) lives and works in Shanghai. Tant’s artistic practice focuses on the moments within everyday flow that can be used for resistance and questioning. These frozen moments may be simple, elegant, slightly comedic, or even absurd. The form of materials forms her sculpture. There is no precise boundary; they are dispersed yet mutually constrained. She excels at linking, arranging, combining, or constructing multiple connections between different objects and words, skillfully placing the contradictions hidden within organic life. The state of her works seems to want to return to some fundamental rules and rhythms while faintly attempting to break them.

Her recent group exhibitions include Tabula Rasa: Unveiled, No.9 Cork Street (London, 2023); Contemporary Myths and Artifacts (Stockholm, 2023, upcoming). Selected solo exhibitions include Where Does a Wanderer Seek Rest at Night? Tabula Rasa Gallery (London, 2023); The Rearview Landscpae, or a Trip of Ownership, Ullens Centre of Contemporary Art (solo, Beidaihe, 2022); The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog, Tabula Rasa Gallery (Beijing, 2020); The Force Temple, Tank Shanghai (Shanghai, 2019); Questioning Photography Now, Galaxy Museum of Contemporary Art (Chongqing, 2018); I Do (Not) Want to Be Part of Your Celebration, Qiao Space and Tank Shanghai Project Space (Shanghai, 2017).

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