Exhibit will be eye-watering or eye-catching
Rather than “Art in Malls,” these days art houses could be malls, with their space design and product displays focused on the consumer shopping decisions.
In German artist Tobias Rehberger’s first institutional solo exhibition in China at the Rockbund Art Museum — “If You Don’t Use Your Eyes to See, You Will Use Them to Cry” — we get to see a butcher’s shop, flower arrangements, a teahouse, a bar and public signage, occupying the different floors of the museum. Many of these works play with notions of collective memory and cultural displacement, highlighting the way ideas circulate and transform in new contexts.
The butcher's shop on the first floor is fully functional. Customers can come in and buy cuts of beef, pork chops, lamb ribs, sausages, canned food and even boar’s heads. The “Portrait Vases,” on the second floor, has a collection of more than 50 uniquely composed vase sculptures — a homage to and reveal the aesthetic quirks of a community of artists and friends associated with the artist from 1997 to 2019.
The 52-year-old also invited fellow artists he had portrayed as vases to present him with a bouquet of flowers, completing each “Vase Portrait.”
The pee-tea house on the third floor incorporates Western misinterpretations of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The design of the structure diverging from the procedures of Zen art aims to create a new type of gathering.
Besides, the artist has also created an impressive display of other benefits while hanging out in a mall nowadays, such as free parking, free Wi-Fi, and free consumption of the images and music.
From ceiling to floor, the illusion Rehberger has created pushes us to think how we interact with space and perceive the connection between everyday life and art.
As Rehberger once described, “I am very interested in this phenomenon that the object is not only interested in its own existence. It’s a kind of tool helping the existence of something else.”
Dates: Through 26 May (closed on Mondays), 10am-6pm
Venue: Rockbund Art Museum
Address: 20 Huqiu Rd