Opening exhibition explores humanity and the post-pandemic world
It's no surprise that the newly opened Deji Art Museum in Nanjing, capital city of east China's Jiangsu Province, aims to join the ranks of the top private art museums of China.
Occupying nearly 10,000 square meters of the whole eighth floor at Deji Plaza, the museum surprised many not only for its space and downtown location, but also for its high-quality collection.
Nanjing, one of China's ancient capitals, has boosted its contemporary art scene in recent years especially through the launch of Nanjing International Art Fair in 2020.
Obviously Deji Art Museum aims to become another art icon in the city.
Before entering the museum, visitors already encounter a pair of installations created by Yoshitomo Nara – "Not Everything But/Green House" and "Not Everything But/Orange House" – in the public area.
Apart from Nara, Yayoi Kusama's signature pumpkin plus the digital art piece by TeamLab all reveal the museum's high standard.
When passing through several wooden cartoon-like trees, visitors can hear bird songs if they press the button on trunks.
"In the Line of Flight, for Possible Worlds," the museum's opening exhibition, features a cluster of installation, video art and interactive works created by nearly 10 famed artists and art groups both from home and abroad. These include Pierre Huyghe, one of the most renowned conceptual artists in France, and Zhang Peili, "father of China's video art."
Zhang Ga, curator of the exhibition, explained the title.
"In perilous times when war breaks loose, pandemics run rampant, markets are shrinking and ecospheres are anguished, a line of flight furnishes a swatch of necessary resilience in the plight of despair," curator Zhang said. "But the line of flight is much more than a path of retreat, a roundabout or even a defense. I hope this exhibition would provide a microcosm to reflect on the humanity and the world in the post-pandemic era."
"XL Chamber," created by Zhang Peili, is a highlight.
Zhang, an artist who does not want to repeat himself, has opposed the use of simple symbols as a strategy to label his art in the past two decades.
The displayed installation is constructed with three jointed modules of rooms with 10 shutter doors that close or open the spaces randomly. However, the algorithm governs the movement of the shutters – sometimes moving together, sometimes one by one, which traps the visitors with no apparent rule to follow. When they happen to enter the room with shutters closed, they would be forced to experience the uneasiness of a confined space utterly with no control of themselves.
Another interesting art piece is "Beholding the Big Bang," a kinetic sculpture created by Arthur Ganson who began the creation of kinetic sculptures in 1977.
The piece features a motor that drives a series of gears which reduce the speed of the motor so that it would take 13.82 billion years for the final gear to rotate once again. Actually 13.82 billion is one of the estimates for the age of universe since the Big Bang. Here, the artist discusses the past and present, silence and movement, real and illusion.
Date: Through November 6, 10am-10pm (Tuesdays-Sundays), 2-10pm (Mondays)
Venue: Deji Art Museum
Address: 8/F, Deji Plaza (Phase 2), 18 Zhongshan Rd, Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province