你和我作为对同时代有所经验的人，是构成同时代性复杂时间脉络和多重时间的最小单位。因此，我们无法按照线性的时间来描述事件的性质。本次展览作为昊美术馆（上海）开馆五周年举办的特别展览，精选馆藏作品中包括李昢、刘韡、张培力、托比亚斯·雷贝格、林天苗、Carsten Nicolai、Markus Lüpertz在内的24位国内外艺术家的37件装置和影像作品。和以往以线性时间为脉络，对馆藏作品进行标签的方式不同，本次展览以“同时代的人是紧紧保持对自己时代的凝视”为线索，以“你和我”为名，在展厅中，“你和我”即与空间对话的直接核心，填补了主体与场景的缺席；对世纪悲剧的发生做出反思，于当代事件和过去参考之间取得联系；从社会学的角度定义时间，将“当下”作为过去与未来的划分点；从社会装置出发，从文化的层面瓦解和反转语言；再认识物质肉体之外的文化表征，对抗碎片化的数字世界；并在数字世界中，转变为无法注销的有机生命形式。
Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938) wrote down the poem The Age (1923) at the beginning of the 20th century. While expressing his visions and hopes for the age, it also shed light on the conflicts between “poet and his time”. In another poem he wrote later, it read: “No, I am no one's contemporary”. (1924)
The Age as quoted in Giorgio Agamben’s What Is the Contemporary? and Alain Badiou’s The Century . In What Is the Contemporary?, Agamben explained “The contemporary is he who firmly holds his gaze on his own time so as to perceive not its light, but rather its darkness. All eras, for those who experience contemporariness, are obscure.” Badiou, when quoting the poem at the end of the 20th century, pointed out that Mandelstam’s “beast” as a newborn and fragile presence was doomed to be transient. What Badiou was trying to break was exactly this “backbone”.
It is widely acknowledged that the 20th century was a century of division. And to gain insights into such “division” takes not only knowledge of what happened in this century, but also of what the people of this century were thinking. If we merely label things that happened without probing into what the people of the century were thinking, we can neither get to truly know the present nor prevent things from repeating themselves. In this same logic, this century would have nothing to with the “future” since its very beginning.
You and I as people of some experience of the contemporary are the minimum unit to constitute the complex and multi-layered veins of time of contemporaneity. Hence we shall not follow linear time to describe the nature of things. The exhibition on view, as celebration of the fifth anniversary of the HOW Art Museum (Shanghai), features 37 installations and videos by 24 artists both at home and from abroad including Lee Bul, Liu Wei, Zhang Peili, Tobias Rehberger, Lin Tianmiao and Carsten Nicolai，Markus Lüpertz. Different from the usual curatorial approach that follows a linear timeline to present the works within museum collection, the exhibition follows the principle of “contemporary is he who firmly holds his gaze on his own time”. Under the title “You as Me”, “you” and “I” are the core of the dialogue with the space, to fill up the absence of subject and scene, reflect upon the tragedies of the century, build connections between contemporary events and past reference, define time from a sociological perspective, treat the “contemporary” as a dividing point between the past and the future, disrupt and reverse language on the cultural level through social installation, rethink of the cultural representations beyond the physical body to confront the fragmented digital world, and morph into an organic life form that cannot be written off in this digital world.
However, the attempt to construct non-linear histories through creative reassemblages of time is in itself trapped in the modern view of history. The underlying narratives among different works are merely judgements based on information fed to us from the outside. You and I need to firmly hold our gaze so as to perceive not its light, but rather its darkness.
The exhibition will run through May 28, 2023.