“Paracelsus’ Garden” is a collection of drawings and embroideries of insects, plants and the human body. Beautifully executed, these works resemble classical anatomical drawings. Human skeletons and anatomies, sprigs of flowers and buds, animal organs and insect parts all combine to form a repertoire to be used freely by the artist in her composition and juxtaposition. At first glance, the collection appears to be a garden of living things, that is, until we come up close for a better look.

The artist’s biological background has enabled her to produce anatomical drawings with X-ray precision.  The subject is “opened up” to allow examination of the inner core. Platycerus virescens takes the form of a beetle, Misumenoides formosipes a spider and Homunculus a human anatomy. Just when the audience is tempted by the Latin biological titles among others to believe that they are invited on a journey of biological discoveries, they find themselves confronted by bizarre juxtaposition of bones, muscles and organs impregnated with strangely mutated connotations that essentially denies any logical reading. Aporophyla lutulenta with the bones of a human hand as wings and Manduca blackburni with a human fetus inside an insect’s womb are just two examples of the mysterious combination of human and insect parts. Perhaps the strangest thing of all is the sense of harmony and compositional logic that give rise to a new level of understanding despite the bizarre and illogical alignment in each piece of work.  

Instead of a backyard inhabited by all kinds of living things, Angela Su’s “Paracelsus’ Garden” is a metaphorical utopia. It is loaded with new creatures originating from mysticism and alchemy. Most importantly, they are reflections of the truth hidden beneath the surface. It is such study of the “thing-in-itself” that I find Su’s work essentially connected with ancient Occultism.  As opposed to the outward characteristics studied in science and mathematics, occultists study the inner nature of things. Instead of drawing on the interrelationships between one another, Su’s work encourages an independent study of the inner core of the subject on its own. Each of her works features a world of its own, with its own cryptic system and order.

- Henry Au-Yeung

Paracelsus' Phylogenetic Treedrawing on paper, 66cm x 100cm

macrolepiota rachodes, ink on drafting film, 60cm x 84cm

adiantum pedatum, embroidery on silk, 71cm x 87cm

Class, Colony and Culture, embroidery on silk, one set of 6, 30.5cm x 30.5cm each

Homunculus, ink on drafting film, one set of 5, 172cm x 67cm each

Homunculus, ink on drafting film, 60cm x 84cm

aprorphyla lutulenta, embroidery on silk, 35.5cm x 30.5cm

cimex adjunctus, ink on drafting film, 60cm x 84cm

latrodectus mactans, embroidery on silk, 46cm x 51cm

lucanus hermani delisle, ink on drafting film, 60cm x 84cm