Erasing traditional boundaries between artistic roles
The exhibition "Again, Just Again" seems to have announced the reopening of Rockbund Art Museum after it being closed for almost a year due to renovations.
Running through December 19, it is the most comprehensive presentation of renowned Swiss artist John Armleder's works to date in China. Visitors get to see his paintings, ready-mades, works created on site and on paper, site-specific wall drawings and rare archival materials.
Born in 1948 in Geneva, Switzerland, Armleder has been a defining art figure with an influential career, which evolved by interchanging between different artistic personas and collectives. Working in a fluid way, his experimental works erase boundaries traditionally separating the roles of painters, performance artists, sculptors, archivists, collectors, curators, editors and even gallery owners.
In 1969, he co-founded the group ECART (écart means "gap," "interval," "divergence" in French) in the spirit of the Fluxus movement. Fluxus was a loosely organized group of artists that disagreed with museum authorities about the value they placed on art. The group believed it wasn't necessary to be educated to view and understand a piece of art.
Armleder has been fascinated with using décor as a medium to explore the relationships between design and appropriation in art. As a result, he has sought to broaden what conceptual art can encompass by allowing the designation of the "author" to be passed onto other collaborators.
"Huqiu Park," which is displayed on the third floor, is one such example. In reality, "Huqiu Park" is an imaginary park. Its title references the road where the museum is located – Huqiu Road.
With Armelder being the initiator of this collaboration, Leslie Zhang, a Shanghai-based photographer, has taken the authorial and artistic direction to design a new installation on this floor. This gesture evokes the spirit of Fluxus by challenging the centrality of an "author."
Drawing inspiration from collective memories of public parks in China during the 1990s, Zhang constructed a scenery where Armelder's paintings get to echo with the nostalgic memories and feelings of the last century.
"Park" visitors can explore the space from multiple viewpoints, which may trigger new associations resulting from their personal experiences and feelings.
Another highlight of the exhibition is on the fourth floor, where viewers find themselves immersed in a spectacle of light, reflections and mirrored surfaces. By emphasizing the importance of the viewer's perception, the dividing line between art and design have dissolved. The constraints of a traditional art object are transformed into an ambient spatial experience.
Dates: Through December 19 (closed on Mondays), 10am-6pm
Venue: Rockbund Art Museum
Address: 20 Huqiu Road