ART IN REVIEW; Wu Shan Zhuan and Inga Svala ThorsdottirBy Holland Cotter
Wu Shan Zhuan is one of the leading figures of the 1980's pre-Tiananmen Square generation of Chinese Conceptualists, whose art is language-based, often installation-size and international in outlook. His ''Red Humor'' (1986), a landmark piece, took the form of a room whose walls were completely covered with words: Cultural Revolutionary slogans, quotations from Buddhist scripture, snippets of commercial advertising and titles of classic works of Western art history. The results felt politically suggestive but poetic, exhilarated by cultural chaos.
One gets a tantalizing sense of Mr. Wu's continuing and increasingly refined exploration of language in the excerpts from his visual novel titled ''Today No Water: The Power of Ignorance,'' on view in the Cohen show. Each page is a poster-size, chartlike painting filled with words, images and commercial logos set out like mathematical equations, adding up to a zany, stream-of-consciousness mix of autobiography, social history and political commentary. The book is a hugely ambitious undertaking, one that could easily make an absorbing exhibition of its own.
At Cohen, however, it is included in a sampling of several projects, many of them collaborations with Inga Svala Thorsdottir, an Icelandic artist who, like Mr. Wu, lives in Hamburg, Germany. The media range from video to sculpture, and the most striking entry is a large-format photograph from the series ''Vege-Pleasure'' (1996). In it the two artists stand nude in the produce section of a German supermarket, their pose based on DÃ¼rer's painting of Adam and Eve. The forbidden fruit has yet to be tasted, but sex is already in the picture, and the expulsion from a genetically engineered Eden will be accompanied by a shopping cart filled with dairy products and junk food.Read the entire article hereSource: