Angela Su
  • Angela Su 'The Magnificent Levitation Act of Lauren O' 2022.

  • Angela Su 'The Magnificent Levitation Act of Lauren O' 2022.


Angela Su

The Magnificent Levitation Act of Lauren O

20 April–27 June 202420 Apr–27 Jun 2024


Angela Su’s documentary-style, speculative-fiction video The Magnificent Levitation Act of Lauren O (2022) addresses levitation as a politically subversive act. It tells the story of the artist’s alter-ego Lauren O—an enigmatic figure who believed she could levitate—and her involvement with Laden Raven, a group of anarchist circus performers.

Beginning with archival film clips of gravity defiers—from balloonists to tightrope walkers to astronauts—it goes on to discuss O’s involvement with the counterculture, linking her with the anti-Vietnam War protesters who attempted to levitate the Pentagon in 1967.

Later, O retreats to the Esalen Institute in northern California, where she reflects that the generational fixation to ‘self-transform’ might just be another ‘illusion that turns into a weapon of disempowerment’. We are told that, as threats to national security, three members of Laden Raven were imprisoned in sensory-deprivation cells.

At the end, Su appears in a performance as O, in a sensory-deprivation cell, suspended from ropes kinbaku style, before apparently transforming into a disco mirror ball. O’s story links Icarian aspirations to journeys into the recesses of the mind. It promotes the ideal of transcending social reality, while suggesting that O may be suffering from a psychotic delusion.

The Magnificent Levitation Act of Lauren O is bewildering. It scrambles fact and fiction, optimism and pessimism, and the individual and the deep state. Su lurches from idea to idea, while leaving out basic reference points and links, perhaps expecting us to take leaps of faith.

The video was the centrepiece of Su’s show Arise, the Hong Kong pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2022.

Artist Bio

Angela Su is a Hong Kong-based artist known for her biomorphic drawings, films, and hair embroideries. Su has exhibited at Tai Kwun in Hong Kong, Levyhalli in Helsinki, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico, and the Drawing Center in New York, as well as in the 2010 Sydney Biennale. She represented Hong Kong in the Venice Biennale in 2022. 

The Institute of Modern Art acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land upon which the IMA now stands, the Jagera, Yuggera, Yugarapul, and Turrbal people. We offer our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first artists of this country. In the spirit of allyship, the IMA will continue to work with First Nations people to celebrate, support, and present their immense past, present, and future contribution to artistic practice and cultural expression.