30 October – 20 December, 2010
Venue1: 128 West Nanjing Road (opposite Shanghai Museum of Art)
Venue 2: 79 & 107 South Suzhou Road (The Bund, Wai Baidu Bridge)
COMMISSIONER: Chang Tsong-Zung
EXHIBITION CURATOR: Chaitanya Sambrani
PRESENTED BY: Shanghai International Culture Association, Institute of Visual Culture (China Academy of Art)
CO-PRESENTED BY: Hanart TZ Gallery, Moonchu Foundation
SUPPORTED BY: Verdant Foundation, The Peninsula Shanghai, World Culture Organization, Pinnacle Group Co Ltd, Indian Council for Cultural Relations
PROJECT MANAGER: Chen Yun
SCENOGRAPHY BY: Bu Bing
This exhibition has resulted from an unprecedented series of contacts, reciprocal visits and discussions involving artists, curators and intellectuals from India and China. The title of the exhibition signals the invitation to encounter locations and histories across old and new borders. Despite market driven interest in the contemporary art of these two countries, these has been little, if any, interaction between the two art cultures in recent times. Awareness of each other’s art practice is limited to occasional encounters at biennales and art fairs in different parts of the world.
Place, time and play have connotations of location, history and creativity, respectively. Reckonings with place imply an understanding of contextual difference, and an attempt to enter another site or location. Taking time is both a requirement of this process, and an opportunity to encounter a different sense of historical time, and for artists to think about and work with the formidable burdens of tradition as well as current economic, political and artistic conditions. The invitation to “play” is extended on the premise that idea of play (and the ludic instinct that underpins it) is a fundamentally life-affirming gesture, too often lost in the midst of the quest for topical issues that the art object must address. Through its invitation to indulge in a basic and universal human activity (and need), the project hopes to inaugurate a more lasting series of relationships between artist communities across the two nations.
We intend this project to be a curatorial experiment. We have encouraged the Indian artists to create works targeted at the Chinese audience, without the intention of ultimately submitting to the scrutiny of other international platforms. They have been asked to treat China as a laboratory for testing new ideas, and as an object of desire or critique.
For more than a century, challenges of imperialism and capitalism have forced India and China to develop strategies that have profoundly transformed both societies. To share this experience is valuable for Indian and Chinese artists alike. For China, long before the seismic cultural shift towards the West it had experienced one other profound cultural turn. The Buddhist turn did not come with comparable destructive fervour as the past century of revolutions, but its influence was just as far reaching; and Buddhist learning took many centuries –starting from Han dynasty scholars until Song dynasty philosophers – before it was fully absorbed into Confucian scholarship. For China today, after a century of revolutions, it is important to remember this history of cultural self-transformation; it is critical to remind ourselves that in our imagination of the world there is not just the West, but also the West Heavens.
Chang Tsong-Zung and Chaitanya Sambrani