Anna Ting Möller ’23 in Solo Show at Tutu Gallery

Carlos Barragán
March 08, 2024

Visual Arts alumna Anna Ting Möller ’23 is currently showcasing her solo exhibition, grafting, for that which grows and that which bars, at Tutu Gallery. The exhibition, which will run through March 16, 2024, features a collection of Möller's sculptures and installations, each carefully redesigned to harmonize with the spatial dynamics of Tutu Gallery. 

The title of the show comes from the Swedish writer Karin Boye’s poem "Ja visst gör det ont (Yes, of course it hurts)," which explains how plants experience their growth—a combination of pain, fear, and the joyfulness of creation. Grafting refers to an ancient method used to join two or more plants, so that they grow together as an existing tree.

Since 2015, Möller has been cultivating and working with kombucha-SCOBY (Symbiotic Cultures of Bacteria and Yeast) in their artistic practice. “The specific material for their sculptures grows from a bottle of SCOBY that the artist received while traveling in Hunan, China, in search of their birth mother. Anna Ting transforms the living cultures into the fleshy, slippery, viscous body of work that challenges the binary of growth and decay, abjection and intimacy,” wrote Yindi Chen for the exhibition introduction. “Reminiscent of morphing human organs and skins, their sculptures evoke a visceral feeling, perhaps from collective memories of loss, and an ambivalent experience between the nauseous and the enchanting.”

Artwork by Anna Ting Möller

In a previous exhibition in 2023 in New York, Möller explored our preconceived ideas about the cycle of life, particularly focusing on microbiology, fungi, and mold. Here, she investigates implicit symbols residing within the material: kombucha, fed with tea and sugar—commodities rooted in Northern European economy and transnational trades—is tainted with the historical entwinement of coloniality and migration; in the process of cultivating the kombucha-SCOBY, the living cultures can never be returned to their "origin" due to the risk of contamination. 

The exhibition features work that embodies grafting, symbolizing both growth and obstruction, brought to life by tubes and Möller's own breath. While making the sculptures, the artist’s actions of washing, cutting, and sewing arise from an intimate relationship with the colonies of bacteria. “With the transformative acts, Anna Ting’s practice unmakes and reproduces intimacy, care, and kinship,” Chen wrote.

Anna Ting Möller (b. 1991, Hunan, China) lives and works in New York City and Stockholm. Möller has an MFA in Visual Art, with a concentration in installation and expanded practices and a BFA from Konstfack University, Stockholm (2018). Forthcoming solo exhibition will be held at Galleri Dueer, Stockholm, Sweden. The artist has exhibited at Liljevalchs Art Gallery, Stockholm, SE; Kristianstad Konsthall, SE; Gustavsbergs Konsthall, SE; ArkDes, Stockholm, SE; Carl Eldh Ateljemuseum, Stockholm, SE; ICPNA La Molina, Lima, PE; Urban Glass, Alexander Bergguren, New York, NY; and Titanik Gallery, FI. They participated in the 45th Tendencies Biennale in Norway. Their work has covered the front page of the National Daily News Paper, DN, Sweden (2020).