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Marlborough Fine Art
2018.11.07 Wed - 2019.02.17 Sun
Opening Exhibition
6 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BY
+44 (0)20 7629 5161
Opening Hours
Monday - Friday: 10am - 5.30pm

Saturday: 10am - 4.00pm

(Closed Saturdays during August)
Geoffrey Parton

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HOW Art Museum
[Press Release]

HOW Art Museum (Shanghai) is pleased to present Heteroglossia, our forthcoming exhibition which will be on view from November 7, 2018 through February 17, 2019. This exhibition brings together a group of artists actively engaged in the contemporary art scene, from across the world including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and the Netherlands. These artists have been exposed to the general influence of Chinese culture, yet they have evolved along different trajectories by incorporating distinct varieties of historical experience, memory, and identity. Growing up in an age of increased globalization and accelerated economic development, a world that keeps changing so fast particularly through innovations in new technologies and media, this generation of artists experienced a markedly different world from their predecessors. Their works make use of the media and materials produced by and populating our current society, and offer unique observations upon as well as distinct insights into each specific site and zeitgeist they inhabit.


Heteroglossia, also known as the theory of polyphony, was a concept introduced by the Russian literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin to summarize the unique characteristics of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novels. The term refers to the coexistence of different languages as well as the conflicts between them, and it also reflects the plurality and fluidity that characterizes our contemporary culture and society, where independent, uncompromising voices and ideas come at us through a variety of different agencies, but which nonetheless intertwine with each other and participate equally in the discussions and debates of a shared contemporary landscape. The wave of globalization (already very visible at the end of the last millennium) has lent momentum to the acceleration of this movement towards pluralism. Meanwhile this same globalization has witnessed the expansion of nationalism, and the increased tensions and segregations that have emerged along territorial borders. In other words, along with the consequences of global standardization at the superficial level, radical changes have simultaneously germinated within society. As the theme of this exhibition, Heteroglossia also provides a critical line of inquiry into it, and invests the whole exhibition by formulating a dialogue between the artists and a world that has become more and more complex and challenging. By establishing this theme, we hope to communicate to the public what this world looks like from the artists’ perspectives.

Featured in this exhibition are installations and videos, accompanied by other forms of art such as performance and multi-media installations. In terms of artistic form, they are invariably influenced by media technologies in a globalized world. Meanwhile they also represent the artists’ active responses to some of the most sensitive and significant events and issues of our contemporary society. Hence in such a picture of Heteroglossia we might see Wang Qingsong and the Yangjiang Group questioning consumer society through a series of striking visual signs and commodities; Cao Fei and Fiona Tan directing their cameras towards the daily life of individuals often neglected by society at large; the employment of multi-media sources (both image and sound) by Ho Tzu Nyen, Peng Hung-Chih, and Samson Young that address issues related to history and identity, in the past, present, and future; instead of using first-person narrative, Xiao Yu and Lu Lei’s works adopt the perspective of an outsider for the expression of life’s potential and dynamic forces; and as an attempt at Gesamtkunstwerk focusing on the visual statement, Tiong Ang’s performance undermines the conception of boundaries and brings to the audience an open structure of space.

The “contemporary” has brought different historical conflicts into focus. The contemporaneity of the twenty-first century transcends national boundaries and embraces integration, plurality, and fluidity as its core values. Situated in the context of contemporaneity, the exhibition Heteroglossia brings together a group of heterogeneous works – a polyphony of different voices and ideas, independent yet intertwined. Through this presentation HOW Art Museum wishes to build a platform for dialogue, and to convey to the public our thoughts and concerns regarding the “contemporary”. At the same time, we look forward to the participation of the public and listening to different voices and ideas from individuals.

The exhibition receives support from Mondriaan Fund and Dutch Consulate: Kingdom of the Netherlands.