Strays on the leashes despite the lions

Painting exhibition

Natalia Kalicki

Susana Wessling

Dual Exhibition: Strays on Leashes

Place: Shangyuan Museum of contemporary art, Exhibition hall, Beijing, China 


Portal to a world behind the art works

strays on leashes

Exhibition review by Irina Ideas

At first there was light, then, there was a word and it gradually turned into a line which suddenly became a story. A story of the universes that we constantly experience but rarely are able to identify, it is not just one unified universe but many, these universes somehow sneak on us, disappear and reappear in the constant breathing in and breathing out of life. Susana and Natalia managed to capture the moments in time of just these almost invisible universes combining the stories, moments of disconnected and yet essential elements that construct the reality of now. Why are these moments almost invisible one might ask, is it the initial awkwardness that makes them invisible to our consciousness that expects only the expected, the reality constructed according to the wishes of the experiencer?  

Colossal lions seemingly belonging to the otherworldly realm greet us, taking away the spirits that walk the trail we make. Gradually the concept of trail disappears as the gravity is twisting and turning all the objects that we are all too comfortable to place in a box of expectations and we go forward into the world of possibilities and impossibilities, bridging the gap somehow.

Susana and Natalia are challenging the concept of our all too comfortable reality, bringing together the ghosts of the past, guarding our present and future, but at the same time letting in the invisible powers to play around with our anthologies, books, powers of storytelling. A book can tell a thousand words with just a few lines, and that is exactly what was told, the line between a sculpture, a painting, a word got blurred and we are left before a mirror a word represents, to face our demons even though we guard every moment of our reality with our individual lions from the times past.

The body of work presented in here is actually exploring this construct in the greater depth, with the touch of Eastern mythology and belief systems that span several centuries to the Calvino’s elegant imaginatorium, these seemingly invisible and yet crucial elements make us experience and we only become aware of them briefly and rarely. We sometimes choose to ignore them because our consciousness seeks comfort, they are like ghosts that pass by the guardian lions (our consciousness) and play with the world of stories. Stories are the most primordial drops of imagination and sometimes it feels as if we have exhausted them all, the combinatorics of so many thoughts, so many centuries of transformation echoing the times they were made in, but, not today! Stories today lead us to the times from the past and present as they incorporate our lives, a lion from the past, a guardian playing in the subconscious mind as we play with it, trying to find something beyond. This beyond is a question mark unique to each of us and the pieces make us wonder about the universe one step further into the world, at the same time one step closer to ourselves as we discover, wonder, us wanderers… into the infinite. 



About Artists 

Susana Wessling


Susana Wessling is a half Portuguese half German visual artist currently living in Lithuania. Over the last seven years she has lived in five different countries and done residencies in four more. She draws from the experience of living in different places and moving often and her practice is based on collecting misfits, mishaps and mismatches that come to be in the liminal spaces created by this mobility.


Susana Wessling是一名有着半葡萄牙半德国血统的视觉艺术家,目前居住在立陶宛。在过去的七年里,她在五个不同的国家生活过,并在另外四个国家做过艺术驻留。她从生活在不同地方和经常迁移的经历中吸取经验,她的实践是基于收集不适应、不幸和不匹配的东西,这些东西由这种经常旅居异地而带来的流动性所创造并聚集到一个有限的空间中。

Selected projects


2019 EM EM Festival, Traku Vokės Manor, Vilnius, Lithuania

2019 Vagabond Club Residency, Singapore

2018 Ateljé Stundars Residency, Vaasa, Finland

2018 The reason why I don’t sit on roofs anymore, Ideas Block , Vilnius, Lithuania

2017 Bonkers Contemporary, Biscuit Factory, Edinburgh, UK

2017 SeMA Nanji 11, residency, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Republic of Korea

2017 Sculpture, The Spectrum of Dream, International Sculpture Festa, KOSA Gallery, Seoul, Republic of Korea

2016 Custom Made, Leith Custom House, Edinburgh, UK

2016 Best of Degree show, Sixfoot Gallery, Glasgow, UK

2015 Interim – Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh. UK


Natalia Kalicki

Natalia Kalicki is a Canadian-Polish painter and anthropologist based in Leipzig, Germany. She has exhibited work in 5 countries, has attended 3 residencies, and was the coordinator of Pilotenkueche Art Residency in Leipzig Germany for 18 months. Her work includes participating in monthly MODS talks, curation, organising festivals, and facilitating partner outreach between institutions and collectives. She is currently studying the intersections of cultural production, mobility, urban development and art residency models at the University of Leipzig in the Anthropology Institute. This summer she is based at Shangyuan Museum AIR in Beijing. Next autumn she looks forward to an internship at the Artist Residency program at U-Jazdowski Castle in Warsaw, Poland.

 Selected projects


2019, Museum On The Couch: Creative and Reflexive Explorations of the Ethnographic Collections. Grassi Museum. Leipzig, Germany

2019 Located – Dislocated. Krudebude. Leipzig, Germany

2019 …but these sunsets are better. Ars Avanti Gallery. Leipzig, Germany

2018 Access Granted: A Global €on$pirac¥. LindeNOW Festival. Leipzig, Germany

2017 Tour De Franz. Open Studios, FF15. Leipzig, Germany

2017 Diversity Collection. LindeNOW Festival. Leipzig, Germany

2017 EAT THIS. Salon Similde. Leipzig, Germany

2016 Goodbye Horses. Pilotenkueche, Spinnerei. Leipzig, Germany

2016 Listhus A-I-R. Ólafsfjörður, Iceland. 

2016 PILOTENKUECHE Leipzig, Germany.


Art history


Exploring the world of Petar Lubarda, seeing through all the way to building block that the stone is

Exploring the world of Petar Lubarda, seeing through all the way to building block that the stone is

This is a story, a personal impression rather, of a great artist Petar Lubarda with his roots in Montenegro, with trunk in former Yugoslavia’s Belgrade and Paris and branches, leaves, fruits and flowers in the World. He reaches deep into the history and yet gives us something completely new, a way to look through the prism of the stone that becomes a bone that becomes a structure that becomes an architecture. An architecture of the cosmic journey that we all take on this planet becoming one with the stone that made us and at the same time we become appalled from time to time when we notice the glimpses of the core. We live in the world so dominated by the ruthless ruler called beauty that often times we live in the superficial layer that the underlying truth frightens us. We have learnt to ignore the depth to such a degree that we follow the footpath of positive psychology, from one landmark to another, to avoid abyss at any price, the abyss of the unknown that the subconscious mind knows.

Louise Bourgeois is crossing the boundaries of any of the definitions and exploring and emphasizing on the prevailing forces of the subconsciousness of the 20th century

Louise Bourgeois is crossing the boundaries of any of the definitions and exploring and emphasizing on the prevailing forces of the subconsciousness of the 20th century

Louise Bourgeois graced this planet with her presence spanning almost a century, during which she created a wide range of artistic pieces in different languages of materials and expression. She is one of the artists of 20th century who always came back to the psychology, self observation, getting back to the core, finding essence in the childhood memories and events.

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