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明当代美术馆 McaM
2016.12.24 Sat - 2017.02.18 Sat
Opening Exhibition
上海市永和东路436号 (地铁1号线汶水路站) No.436 east Yonghe Road,Zhabei District,Shanghai
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Ming Contemporary Art Museum – Proposals to Surr­­ender ­­
[Press Release]

Building upon the institutional interests of McaM in the notion of performativity in art, which is the only institution in China that actively supports live works, this exhibition explores the nature of such practices and their relation to the exhibition format – a temporal reality that provides an important physical encounter between individuals and artworks being created in real time.

Exhibition tempts to challenge, formulized ways of behaving of viewer, participant within exhibition structure creating gaps and openings for exhibition and its form to leak into reality.

Proposals to Surrender thus explores the durational aspects of live works by some of the foremost practitioners, who contribute significantly to the debate around the need to rethink the ritualized nature of exhibitions within the so-called Western art context. This exhibition also confronts the way in which this model has been copied around the world, in many cases without any critical consideration as to the local social rituals and context, its relation to objecthood, and what gets lost when an object is exhibited.

This exhibition creates a rhythm of relationships between the works, which engage different types of experiences, from the bodily to the sensual and intellectual, or the way in which lived experience is transformed into physical and psychological memory. Importantly, the physical and spatial contexts of museum galleries are important aspects to the interpretation of the exhibited artworks, proposing a shift to how each individual perceives the space.

The role of the artists within the exhibition shifts from the act of hosting – crafting the certain conditions for each encounter and developing a sense of trust between artist and participant – to an invisible host that creates the necessary conditions for slippages in time and space between cultural borders, age, gender, and different geographic locations, including artists reflections on forced rituals transform our bodily and mental experiences.

Due to the durational nature of the exhibition, it will remain dynamic and changing throughout its run, and this very aspect will provide different experiences and opportunities to become a part of its evolution.

Importantly, the works within the exhibition reference the art historical archive of choreographed bodily work, offering rumination on the different aesthetics of choreography, and thereby providing a chance to unfold time and space rather than simply present a two dimensional image of it.

The practices of these artists actively contribute to the rethinking of what an art object is and whether we can expand our understanding of art objects and relationship to them, thereby challenging many aspects relating to its documentation, notions of ownership, transmission, and the impossibility to re-enact identical situations or encounters. These questions, among many others, complicate the regulated relations within the established art system and provide new channels for its restructuring in the hopes of creating new and meaningful contributions to the creation of new rituals and new institutional structures.

With all of this in mind, the exhibition attempts to create encounters that will challenge the common consumption modes for the experience of exhibitions in China, and requests the commitment from both sides – the artist and visitor. The importance and value of physical encounters and mutual commitments is more and more important as our lives become more isolated and new communication tools replace physical connectivity.

As part of this curatorial interest in engaging with institutions from within and proposing ongoing relationships that require mutual commitments to think together about the roles of institutions and exhibition-making, Ei Arakawa and Stefan and Sergei Tcherepnin will continue their involvement over a longer period of time as they develop a new project that will have its symbolic start January 8th 2017 as part of the exhibition. The final project will be implemented in November 2017 in the hopes of instigating McaM to think about how ephemera can become an institution, asking: How does the institution itself perform?