Duration: November 19, 2015—February 28, 2016
Venue: Aurora Museum
No. 99 Fucheng Road
Lujiazui, Shanghai, China
Curator: Davide Quadrio
Aurora Museum and Arthub continue the search for alternative angles of contemporary art as a tool to revivify the antiques collection of the museum with the group exhibition Unordinary Space – Liu Shiyuan, Yin Xiuzhen, and Gentucca Bini. Since the inception of Xin Lu, New Roads, a continuative program of contemporary art exhibitions initiated 3 years ago, projects developed at Aurora have analyzed possibilities of institutional expansion and positioning, within the variegated cultural landscape of Shanghai.
Unordinary Space explores the architectural and metaphorical spaces that connect the Aurora Building and the Tadao Ando annexed Museum infrastructure. The physical and imagined connections between the two spaces become the thematic thread in the conception of site-specific sculptural installations, which are dually inspired by the idea of craftsmanship reflected in Aurora’s permanent collection.
The exhibition is articulated in three chapters: the space as a container, the space as surface and the space as digital platform. For the second time, Alcantara will partner with Aurora, providing its versatile material as a media for the two artists and designer’s new productions.
Yin Xiuzhen’s monumental installation Digestive Cavity, addressing the notion of container, is conceived as the focal installation intended to strengthen the physical connection between the entrance of the antiques museum and the public space of the Aurora Building. The installation is thought to create a spatial experience, a private sensorial room that invites visitors to reflect upon life’s transience.
The structure for the installation will be built with hundreds of second hand clothes and Alcantara cuts. The intertwined metal openings organically form a room that depicts a spiritual highway; the Jingdezhen ceramic vessels embedded in the textile inserts represent fragments of peoples’ lives. Stomach is a part of a series of works, but the use of ceramics marks a new chapter in Yin’s practice—creating unexpected and foreign objects charged with a disturbing physicality.
Crossing the main hall into the Chandelier Room, five monitors present the work of Liu Shiyuan. Her interpretation of craftsmanship is represented through a digital collage that combines different languages, cultures, and eras. The looping video portraying the artist’s Love Poem dedicated to love poems is displayed inside and on the building façade’s monumental LED screen. This poem seeks to become a manifesto of the lyrical nature that historically distinguishes human civilization.
After translating excerpts of famous love poems written in different countries across centuries, Shiyuan has merged them, giving shape to a seemingly endless poem. The lines become a flux that ironically breaks the definition of poem itself, disrupting the boundaries of rhythm. As words flow by, the background changes continuously, showing myriad patterns and colors assembled with scans of Alcantara material. This metamorphosing backdrop enhances the heterogeneity of the literary references, and the variety of their spatial and temporal coordinates.
The last contributor, Gentucca Bini, combines design and architecture to create projects that subvert and challenge perceptions of individual and public environments. Her installation Arora Mueum aims at creating a bi-dimensional palindrome of the glistening architecture in the Chandelier Hall with optical illusions.
Visitors will witness the transformation of the baroque room, where the coldness of the marble is counterbalanced by the softness of Alcantara, treated with a complex photographic printing process that makes the material appear as if made of the same marble and glass elements that compose the authentic architecture. Bini blurs the borders between real and imagined to create a flattened inverted reproduction of the unique space.
In this monumental exhibition three women metaphorically comment on the social “containers” that Aurora represents. Their installations invite us to reimagine the meaning of craftsmanship and to open ourselves up to possibilities of inter-connections amongst varying cultures and media.
To read the full curatorial text see here.
Watch the making of Unordinary Space at Aurora Museum:
Video by FLATMIND.
Images by Zhou Zihan.
Born in Milan, Designer and Architect Gentucca Bini began her career path on the catwalks of other stylists, designing accessories for Raffaella Curiel, Blumarine, Karl Lagerfeld, Ferré and Chanel, before setting up the line that now carries her name, which is sold in non-traditional channels. Her clientele includes some famous names such as Melba Ruffo, Dario Fo and Franca Rame.
Gentucca gained recognition in the art world through a journey that began with her desire to revive the work of her grandmother, renowned fashion designer Bruna Bini. Gentucca re-proposed her grandmother’s creations with the same cut, the same colours but vacuum packed, thus giving the buyer freedom to either wear them or hang them on a wall as an art objects. This line soon reached the shops of the most important museums across the world such as the Guggenheim in New York or Palazzo Grassi in Venice.
In Bini’s fashion, particular attention is paid to constructive details and working techniques, with a style targeted for a self-confident woman who wishes to affirm her own personality with a hint of irony. Shapes are created from the gestures of the people wearing them, defects become decorative elements and volumes and disproportions cause surprise, and highlight the most playful aspects of clothing.
Born in 1985 in Beijing and currently based between Beijing and Copenhagen, Liu Shiyuan has been making works—across photography, collage, video and performance—to define a contemporary experience and sensibility through her manipulation of everyday object, found images and theatrical gesture which arrives at a subtle borderline of rational and the obscure, reality and fiction.
Liu graduated from The School of Visual Art in New York with MFA in Photography, 2012; Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing with BFA in New Media Art, 2009. Her work has been featured in many exhibitions. Recent groups shows include CAFAM Future, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, 2015; Second Thought，Flower Gallery, New York, 2015; New You See, Whitebox Art Center, New York, 2014; The 7th Shenzheng Sculpture Biennale, OCT-Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, 2012; stillspotting nyc, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, among others. She received Honorary AIR Awards from Kala Art Institute, San Francisco, 2014, and Paula Rhodes Memorial Award, New York, 2012.
A leading female figure in Chinese contemporary art, Yin Xiuzhen (b. 1963, Beijing) began her career in the early 1990s following her graduation from Capital Normal University in Beijing where she received a B.A. in oil painting from the Fine Arts Department in1989. Her artworks have since been shown extensively in various international exhibitions.
Yin Xiuzhen has worked primarily in site-specific installation and sculpture since the early 1990s. Her work explores modern issues of globalization and homogenization, both on an environmental scale as on a personal one. Best known for her works that incorporate second-hand objects, Yin often employs everyday materials, including found textiles.
By utilizing recycled materials, transforming them into sculptural documents of memory, she seeks to personalize objects, and alludes to the lives of specific individuals, which are often neglected in the drive toward excessive urbanization, rapid modern development and the growing global economy. In a fast changing China, ‘memory’ seems to vanish more quickly than everything else. That’s why preserving memory has become for the artist an alternative way of life.