PO[r]TION is about brewing perceptual changes. Changes that we do to ourselves or to our surroundings. The exhibition attempts to distribute and look at how we display these changes, the theatricality of objects and stories, staged and in daily life. The exhibition title, a combination of two words, Potion and Portion, serves as a ‘spellbinding’ subject that can help us to understand the role of the artist and that of the viewer as a concoction in the production and mediation of knowledge. The exhibition venue and its apparatus of display prove itself to be something of a chameleon: performing, relating or establishing itself as a context. It responds to the imaginations and politics of the artists who inhabit it, and the worlds they wish to build. As context plays a subtle yet essential role in the presentation of the artworks, we can speculate on what separates an art experience from an everyday experience, especially when the environment looks and feels very similar to objects and spaces viewers encounter in their daily lives. PO[r]TION resists to be yet another exhibition. Here, no fixed points but rather a dynamic structure which bridges visual art, interior furnishings, and design to constitute a platform to renegotiate elemental aspects of the contemporary beyond-modern life. As the venue isn’t the typical hollowness of a gallery being filled up, this exhibition challenges the usual perceptive habits and invites to explore the surrounding setting in an active way. It presents a range of works that reference either the immediate space that surrounds or serves the artists’ creativity or the space that unfolds through the artwork itself. In the venue, a setting that resembles a luxurious place of hospitality, there are particular rooms allowing for an examination of how various possibilities can be constructed along a shifting scale from intimate, to private, to interpersonal, to material/cultural and in dialogue with each of the other positions.
The selected works will induce the viewers less with the visible but rather with the sensual and intuitive. As such, the exhibition generates a situation which turns the interiors into both a meeting place and a site of discovery. Thus the site becomes a playground for staging the relations of public and private nature and experiences of social solidarity are translated here into a kind of architecture of emotions where the artworks animate new trains of thought, inviting you to step outside customary boundaries. It’s a display in which the company of artworks is nevertheless surprising, hoping that viewers will find their own way to play and navigate the exhibiting spaces (rooms). The realm of the exhibition begins at the threshold of the rooms. Artists have been selected to show works that explore how the inner workings of the mind – emotions, thoughts, memories and dreams – can be represented in these spaces, shedding light on their creativity and inviting visitors to explore their own thought processes. Each of them embeds a context of production, condition of display, time, space and discourse into artworks which then co-exist with other artworks.
This can be seen converted into a multitude of different formats and medium with active mechanisms – animated VDO, text, sculpture, mixed-media translations and painterly interpretations – sustained collectively of our stories and objects, mundane and exalted, personal and subjective. Here, the multitude is recognized by the portions within it – be they people, thoughts, or actions, they propose tangible realities that constitute an aesthetic experience surrounding us. Together, the artworks, as confined within the exhibition, may be read as a diaristic potion; manifesting the exhibition spaces between the viewer and the art which is slowly filled by the visitor’s imagination and participation.
About the exhibition
Dates: Dec 17, 2014 – Jan 31, 2015
Opening: Dec 17, 2014, 18:00, Wednesday
Venue: L’Avenue Shanghai (Shanghai, China)
Curator: Ng Josef
Artists: Chen Yujun, Chen Yufan, Cui Xiuwen, Fang Lu, Gao Weigang, Jiang Pengyi, Kong Lingnan, Li Qing, Liu Yujia, Shao Yinong + Mu Chen, Variation NEUF Studio, Heidi Voet, Wang Yuyang, Wu Daxin, Wu Di, Wu Jianan, Yang Yongliang, Yuan Yuan, Zhang Yexing
Organizers: L’Avenue Shanghai, Shanghai Gallery of Art