It should be man with nature, not man versus nature
As part of the ongoing Shanghai Biennale, with a new focus on the relationship between man and nature with new technology never before used, the first phase of the exhibition “Recalibrar la realidad” (Calibrate Reality) kicked off at the Biblioteca Miguel de Cervantes Shanghai on Tuesday.
The works include Antoni Muntadas’ “Social Distance,” Eugenio Ampudia’s “Concert for the Biocene” and Hu Jieming’s “Mirage of Cervantes” — all looking into the experience since the COVID-19 outbreak last year from a personal perspective.
Spanish artist Ampudia’s “Concert for the Biocene” is a 8:55-minute video, featuring the first concert at Liceu Opera House in Barcelona on June 22, 2020, after Spain lifted its three-month lockdown.
The concert “invited” 2,292 pots of plants to the theater as Puccini’s string quartet “Chrysanthemums” was being played.
At the end of the show, there was a roaring applause from the plants when the wind blew through the hall, a symbolic way to call on humans to make substantial changes to put natural life at center stage.
Since March 2020, over 100 countries and regions worldwide have ordered either a full or partial lockdown.
Families have been torn apart and lives put on hold. Nearly 1.6 billion children worldwide have had their education disrupted because of the pandemic, according to UNICEF.
Muntadas’ “Social Distance” catches a moment of discomfort caused by the distance between people and the distress by isolation.
The 79-year-old, who now resides in New York, is still active as a postconceptual multimedia artist, with his works across diverse media, including photography, video, publications, the Internet, multimedia installations and urban interventions.
Chinese artist Hu Jieming’s “Mirage of Cervantes” is an interactive digital installation, based on one of his works from the project “14 Days: The Diary of DRC No. 12,” which he created in August last year in Beijing.
The artist photographed his body being caught by street lights at night during self-quarantine — an experience we can all, more or less, relate to during the COVID-19 pandemic. The shadows projected on the interior wall create a picture between reality and dream.
And in this exhibition, by using the interactive display technology, the surrounding weather, pedestrians and their photographic reproductions are juxtaposed to form a dialectical process, creating a site for the viewers to contemplate the existential condition in the present-day realities.
“If there’s one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has taught me in the past year, it’s that I see art, as creativity, something humans would do by their very nature,” said Hu at the opening of the exhibition.
Dates: Through June 5, 11am-6:30pm
Venue: Biblioteca Miguel de Cervantes Shanghai
Address: 208 Anfu Rd