In the past few years, new museums have been constructed all over China in an unprecedentedly quantity and scale. As excellent works are emerging, we found it a critical moment to reflect on such new museum architecture. However, the conventional way of architectural exhibition, with models, photographs, or drawings, can only display piecemeal vignettes of the selected works rather than their potential role in contemporary China. We now need to explore new methods to investigate the social, cultural, and political transformation underlying the quantitative expansion, such as construction and usage, public and private, representation and observation, event and daily life, etc.
So we put together here presentations instead of representations in this exhibition. 12 architects/artists (groups) are invited to approach the topic of museum architecture in visual ways from a diversity of perspectives
ZHANG Ming and ZHANG Zi use a large-scale installation to present the tension and juxtaposition of two extreme trends of museum design: the “museum of largeness” to one end, and the “museum of smallness” to the other end. It reflects on the prevailing trends today to understand museum either as the “temple of art”, or as the “self-expression of artist”.
Both ZHANG Jiajing and BU Bing/CHAI Tao take the Shanghai Power Station of Art—the exhibition site itself—as the subject: ZHANG’s installation slides the museum into “9 Pieces” to eliminate the “proud of architecture”; whilst BU and CHAI’s video installation uses recorded videos and live monitor to reverse the relationship of watching and being watched in the museum.
FENG Lu and LIU Yuyang present a number of “unbuilt museums” collected from architects. The display is both on the exhibition site and on-line, with the discussions on Weibo and other network medias being an integral part of the work.
Urbanus’s Contemporary Art Center incarnates the idea of “Comprehensive Public Space” which they have been exploring in the past years; LIU Jiakun displays two of his design works via videos: the Luyeyuan Stone Sculpture Museum (2002), and the Hu Huishan Memorial House (2009).
The China Megacities Lab led by Jeffery Johnson brings a portion of their current research on the Chinese museum projects. The work tends to show us the vast quantity of museums being constructed in China, as well as their astonishing scale, formal diversity and iconic ambition. It explores the new trends/models that might mark a paradigm shift in how the museum project is defined.
The Museum of Unknown is a group of artists who attempt to reflect on the conventional museum institution. Their work explores the possibility of extending artworks from museums to the more private spheres.
YUAN Feng’s work “Museum in the Future” adopts the Holographic Projection method to display the juxtaposition of multiple temporal-spatial dimensions in the hyperspace. YU Ting uses mirrors to create a set of distorted visions, revealing the inevitable personal prejudices that exist in judging the “right view” from the “deviated view”.
As a photographer, SHEN Zhonghai recorded the entire construction process of the Rockbund Art Museum. People’s behaviors and activities, both inside and outside the museum, form an integral part in the narrative, representing the very real, dynamic condition of the contemporary urban history.
Atelier Z+ and ATELIER ARCHMIXING’s work Aviation Influenza is part of the Aviation Influenza project proposed by ARCH!CHOKE. It is the only exhibit that is placed outside the main exhibition site. The interrelationship between museum and public space is the highlight of the work.
The primary purpose of the exhibition is to stimulate more deep thoughts and critical reflections on the new museum architecture rather than repeating superficial complains about the over-speed or over-quantity. The large-scale construction activities in China today are both challenge and opportunity to the architects. It is also a critical moment for the architects, intellectuals, and the public to reconsider and re-assess architecture and urbanism. We do hope that the visitors can look through this gigantic and splendid mirage composed of any kind of spectacle shown in the exhibition, and start to think more about what we have had, and what we are pursuing.
About the exhibition
Opening: May 17, 2013, 15:30, Friday
Venue: 3F, Power Station of Art
Urbanus (LIU Xiaodu/WANG Hui/MENG Yan), FENG Lu/ LIU Yuyang, Atelier GOM (ZHANGJiajing，HUANG Wei), China Megacities Lab/Colimbia University (Jeffrey JOHNSON,FLORENCE Zoe, LECKNER Jill), BU Bing/ CHAI Tao, LIU Jiakun, SHEN Zhonghai, Tongj-Original Design (ZHANG Ming, ZHANG Zi), Museum of unkown , YUAN Feng, YU Ting, Atelier Z+ (ZHANG Bin/ZHOU Wei)/ Archmixing (ZHUANG)
Courtesy of Power Station of Art, for futher information please visit www.powerstationofart.org/en.