Thursday, December 02, 2010

Rockbund Art Museum

Nina Boys
Rockbund Art Museum
Contemporary Art and New Media in China
Class Blog Response

Upon entering the Rockbund Art Museum it was instantly apparent
that the exhibition "By Day By Night or Some (Special) Things a Museum
Can Do" was going to be a unique experience for me as a student of
art. Starting from the top floor and working our way down, we were
initiated with an instillation by Bulgarian artist Nedko Solakov
entitled "I Want Back Home, Said the Frog" documenting a two week
trans-Siberian journey that began in his own capital city of Sofia and
ended in Shanghai with many intermittent stops along the way. The
aforementioned (porcelain) frog was Solakov's travel buddy and served
as the focal point for the project, providing a subject through which
the audience could trace his travels in order to add depth and a sense
of humor to his experiences. By documenting the way that he
understood his surroundings through the frog they can be perceived as
more than just the random ramblings of just another traveler but
rather through a unique lens that allowed us to interpret him as an
artist in an unexpected way through the multi-media instillation that
included video, photographs and personal relics collected along the
way. As we made our way down the stairs and saw photographs taken
around Shanghai using the human body as living "rulers" measuring the
city through a variety of positions it became clear that this was a
curatorial accomplishment for the contemporary Shanghai art scene. It
is collaboration between both local and international artists
conveying their interpretations of the every-day modern urban
experience of Shanghai in a variety of surprising and multi-faceted
ways while also encouraging a dialogue between artist and audience
with nightly art events and discussions. These dynamisms are further
reflected in another striking video/illustrational instillation by
Pakistani artist Shahzia Sikander/Du Yun entitled "Gossamer." The
fantastical work combined a seemingly random collection of illustrated
objects dancing in juxtaposition against shifting backgrounds set to
an experimental soundtrack that gave the audience an almost
psychedelic experience of an "infinite opening towards new
possibilities of cultural translation." Furthermore the silhouette of
the audience was cast against the screen, integrating us into the work
itself. We could see ourselves physically meld into this "infinite
opening" giving the illusion of an out of body experience and made me
feel almost as if I was in a lucid dream; aware of my actions and body
and able to experience what was in front of me in a more conscious way
because of it; a feeling that followed me into the streets when I left
the museum.

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