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The Rockbund Art Museum will present a major solo exhibition by French artist, Philippe Parreno, which is his first show in China. Curated by the Director of the museum, Larys Frogier, the exhibition will occupy four of the museum’s six floors, also extending to its seventh floor glass rooftop.

Over the past twenty years, Parreno has radically redefined the exhibition going experience by exploring its possibilities as a medium in its own right. Realised in dialogue with the physicality and functionality of the museum’s architecture, the exhibition will alter the building’s current existence through an unexpected use of time, space, light, and sound to become a semi automated puppet, a perpetual motion of events in which Parreno subverts the conventions of the gallery space.

Curator of the exhibition, Larys Frogier, states: “Parreno invites visitors to engage with contradictory notions of the physical, emotional, and conceptual. He blurs the distinction between reality and fiction to create an all-encompassing world of endless possibilities”.

By manipulating light, shadow, and duration, Parreno will guide visitors through a constantly evolving space. The artist will cover various windows of the renovated Art Deco building with blinds that will act as eyelids to the building, opening and closing in different locations, and to variable time sequences – each gallery space shifts from darkness to twilight, and then to full light. Some blinds will be activated using motors, but for the very first time the artist will work with ‘dalang’ performers to operate the remainder. A ‘dalang’ refers to the puppeteerin an Indonesian Wayang performance; traditionally controlling the white screen and lighting that together create the shadow puppets that make up the performance.

On the museum’s glass rooftop, Parreno will install a heliostat that will direct sunlight into the fourth floor space in a carefully choreographed ensemble of natural light that dances in sync with the movement of the blinds.

A vertical plane in line with the building’s own axis, will cut through all four floors of the exhibition, each floor becoming a template of the other. The plane will be visible on the first floor lobby next to a rotating secret bookcase door, on the second floor alongside a large-scale screen that will play a new rendition of Parreno’s 2000 film Anywhere Out Of the World. On the third floor, next to a wall displaying a new series of Parreno’s Fade to Black fluorescent silkscreened posters, and on the fourth, alongside a transparent screen.

For the new rendition of Parreno’s animated film Anywhere Out Of the World, the 2D manga heroine who featured in the opening series of the artist’s 1999 collaborative project, ‘No Ghost Just A Shell’, will re-appear in stereoscopic 3D, with a new voice, and narration.

An illuminated glass marquee placed at the 3rd floor of the exhibition will play a tune that resonates throughout the entire building. From the appearance of a film to the disappearance of an image, to a song sung by the dalangs: Parreno will choreograph the Rockbund Art Museum.

About the artist

A key artist of his generation, Philippe Parreno radically redefined the exhibition experience by taking it as a medium, placing its construction at the heart of his process. Working in a diverse range of media including film, sculpture, drawing, and text, Parreno conceives his exhibitions as a scripted space where a series of events unfold. He seeks to transform the exhibition visit into a singular experience that plays with spatial and temporal boundaries and the sensory experience of the visitor, who is guided through the space by the orchestration of sound and image.

For the artist, the exhibition is less a total work of art than a necessary interdependence that offers an ongoing series of open possibilities.

Based in Paris, France, Parreno has exhibited and published internationally. He studied at the Ecoledes Beaux-Arts in Grenoble from 1983 – 1988 and at the Institut des Hautes Etudes en arts plastiques at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris from 1988 -1989.

Parreno was awarded the prestigious 2016 Hyundai Commission at Tate Modern Turbine Hall, titled Anywhen the commission received international acclaim. Parreno was also the first artist to take over the entire 22,000 square metre gallery space at the Palaisde Tokyo, Paris with his exhibition Anywhere, Anywhere Out of the World which opened in October 2013. Major exhibitions of Parreno’s work include: Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto (2017); ACMI, Melbourne (2016/17); Hangar Bicocca, Milan (2015), Park Avenue Armory, New York (2015), CAC Malaga (2014),The Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow (2013); Barbican Art Gallery, London (2013); Fondation Beyeler (2012); Philadelphia Museum of Art(2012); The Serpentine Gallery, London (2010); Witte de With (2010); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2009); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2009); Kunsthalle Zurich (2009); CCA Kitakyoshu, Japan (2006); Kunsthalle Zürich (2006); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2003); Musée D’Art Moderne de le Ville de Paris(2002), and Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2001).

About the curator

Larys Frogier is the Director of the Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) in Shanghai. Curator, critic and art historian, he is involved in artistic and social challenges in post-global contexts where ongoing social, economical, cultural transformations demand new ways of interrelations, citizenship and reinvented creativity.

He has curated numerous exhibitions and published extensive essays on the works of international artists: Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Nan Goldin, Paola Pivi, UgoRondinone, Wang Du, Yang Jiechang.

Previously the Director of the contemporary art centre La Criée in Rennes (France), he curated long-term projects (symposiums, residencies, exhibitions, publications), which question the links and ruptures between broadening transcontinental areas. Chair of the HUGO BOSS ASIA ART jury since 2013 at the Rockbund Art Museum, he is conceiving this new award, exhibition and research program as an evolving platform to promote emerging artists and to question Asia as a construction to investigate rather than a monolithic area or fixed identities.

Larys Frogier taught art theory, history of art and curatorial studies at the University of Rennes, while he was also researcher at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and at the Archives for Art Criticism.

About the exhibition

Dates: Jul 8, 2017 – Sep 17, 2017

Venue: The Rockbund Art Museum

Courtesy of the artist and the Rockbund Art Museum www.rockbundartmuseum.org.

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