Tai Shani: My Bodily Remains
Tai Shani works with painting, sculpture, installation, and film to explore the politics of emancipation through a feminist lens. A prolific writer, Shani draws on sources including punk rock, cult cinema, Greek mythology, feminist theory, and science fiction. For her first US solo museum exhibition, she has made a feature-length film, My Bodily Remains, Your Bodily Remains, and all the Bodily Remains that Ever Were and Ever Will Be (2023). The film makes use of emotive effects and passages of digital animation to explore the often overlooked connections between leftist resistance movements over the past 150 years. It oscillates between depictions of a society plagued by isolation, greed, and fear on one hand, and investigations of eroticism and pleasure as catalysts for radical change on the other. To accompany the film, Shani has produced a floor-based installation resembling an inverted Medieval ceiling, accessorized with an array of artifacts—pearlescent spheres of various sizes, handcrafted ceramic hands, and a reliquary—that refer to the film and various literary sources. Drawing on queer and feminist theory, and political ideologies of collectivism, the exhibition ponders love as a device for healing and resistance.
My Bodily Remains is the first U.S. solo museum exhibition by British multi-media artist Tai Shani (b. 1976, London). The exhibition will bring together all facets of Shani’s expansive practice, including the U.S. premiere of a newly commissioned feature-length film from which the exhibition draws its title: My Bodily Remains, Your Bodily Remains, and all the Bodily Remains that Ever Were and Ever Will Be (2023). The exhibition will also include one of the artist’s signature installations, featuring mixed media and references to the premiering film’s core themes.
Shani works with painting, sculpture, installation, performance, and film to explore the politics of emancipation from a feminist perspective. A prolific writer, Shani draws on sources including punk rock, cult cinema, Greek mythology, feminist theory, and science fiction to craft otherworldly environments and experiences. The new feature-length film uses the vernacular of video games and sci-fi cinema to explore leftist resistance movements through the past 150 years. A critique of the recent global rise of authoritarianism and fascist politics, it follows four protagonists as they grapple with fundamental life questions about love, grief, and societal change.
The exhibition also includes an accompanying installation occupying nearly 30 feet across and resembling an inverted Medieval ceiling featuring sculptures and objects that echo the environments and references woven throughout the film. Suspended above it and on the adjacent wall will be fragmented architectural forms—columns, an altar, and circular discs—that further emphasize Shani’s interest in conjuring immersive dream-like environments. The exhibition also features a suite of nine watercolors, a painted triptych, and an earlier film, The Neon Hieroglyph (2021), demonstrating Shani’s multi-disciplinary practice and investigating the transformative potential of psychedelics. Drawing on queer and feminist theory and political ideologies of collectivism, the works together ponder love as a device for healing and resistance.
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Annual exhibition support is provided by Gale and Dave Beckett, BelFlex and Jason McCaw, Barbara Weston Sasser and Carol Weston Roberts, Ronnie and John Shore, Helen and Brian Heekin, Barbara Myers, and the generous contributors to the CAC Exhibition Fund. General operating support for the CAC is provided by ArtsWave, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, P&G Fund, and the Johnson Foundation.
Curated by Amara Antilla, Senior Curator at Large, with assistance provided by Erin Adelman, Curatorial Assistant