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Announcement
May 13, 2021

Banal Objects/DIY Aesthetics: A Continuation of Decentralized Reality with Expanding Intimacy

OCAT Institute

Chris Zhongtian Yuan, Close, Closer, 2020-2021. Single-channel HD video, 10:00 minutes. Courtesy of the artist.

Charlotte Lagro, The Art-shaped Hole in My Heart, 2015. Single-channel HD video, 9:29 minutes. Courtesy of the artist.

Charlotte Lagro, I thought it was kind of Eggplanty, 2015. Archival pigment print, 225 x 150 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

Bug Farm Family, Singing an American Night, 2020. Single-channel video, 10:10 minutes. Courtesy of the artist.

Jeremy Deller, Memory Bucket, 2003. Digitalised video, DVD, 28:39 minutes. Courtesy of the artist and The Modern Institute.

Jeamin Cha, Autodidact, 2014. Single-channel HD video, 9:00 minutes. Courtesy of the artist.

Jeamin Cha, Hysterics, 2014. Single-channel HD video, 7:00 minutes. Courtesy of the artist.

Adam Martin, CEM: Competitive Endurance Manipulation—The Visual Novel, 2020. Single-channel video, 21:56 minutes. Game player: jyutsukanshinsei. Courtesy of the artist.

 

Adam Martin, Iowa Landscape Study 1, 2021. Black and white photography slides. Courtesy of the artist.

Li Yu + Liu Bo, To Be Titled, 2011–2013. Four of twelve HD black-and-white videos, 6:00 minutes each. Courtesy of the artist.

OCAT Institute is pleased to announce the opening of the exhibition Banal Objects/DIY Aesthetics: A Continuation of Decentralized Reality with Expanding Intimacy on May 14, 2021 at 4pm. As an execution of the winning proposal of OCAT’s inaugural 2020 Research-Based Curatorial Project, the exhibition remains on view until August 8, 2021.

The exhibition takes shape in the long search for a redefinition of personhood which sometimes hybrids paradoxical ideals that can be found outside of modernist notion of liberalism. From the initial proposal to this formal elaboraton of the curatorial ideas, many participating artists embraced a constantly evolving understanding of adaptaton, mediation and innovation. A closure of self-entertaining era leads to an emergent of constellation of individuals and ideas. The decentralization describes not only the dispersion of population from metropolitans, but also the homogenous nature of the distribution network for new media works. The newfound intimacies became dissociated from traditional familial structure and were often implied in less visible forms of alliance, affinity, and society among various peoples.

Across two floors of the museum, the exhibition brings together seven artists from local areas and around the world, presenting two themes—“portraits of the rural” and “precarious city.” The upper floor is intended to offer a discreet examination of the rural social environment, often less legible than contemporary social formations. Through these moving images, the natural landscape is taken with a cool sensibility from the minimalist tradition, while the tactility and sound fuse into integral sensorial stimulation. Instead of a singular perspective view, many videos evoke memories of physical experiences which blur the boundaries of contemporary social stratification. The exhibition on the lower floor attempts to offer a maze of wonders, where the adolescence intersects with urban life. A homage paid to the collective memories of urban legends, recalling the impossible navigation among fiction, romance, hysteria, suspicion, legitimation, consumption and alienation.

Performing a hybrid textuality and cinematography style, the works are formatted in a playful yet precise fashion. These legends are told through investigative documents, staged photography, and visual novels, sometimes covering the real identity of the protagonists or replacing it with rather anonymous actors. These legends are told through investigative documents, staged photography, and visual novels, sometimes covering the real identity of the protagonists or replacing it with rather anonymous actors. The surreal narration proceeds to create a reality that reveals the abysses and vulnerability off human life.

The dis-identification with the worldly operator profile (just imagine the amount of natural resources wasted on the self-care procedures for that) leads to a reflection on the modernist notion of the personhood which prioritizes progress and autonomy, respectively manifests in the liberal education and labor care. One is necessary for character formation, socialization, and proper development of the moral and civic subjectivity; the other dictates the dominant interpersonal relations for one’s adulthood. Are modern liberal education and labor care pointing to a structurally sound and intimately connected web of relations?

The artworks in the exhibitions invite viewers to encounter situations where aspirational fantasies accidentally lead to downward spirals, or banal scenarios twist into profound heroism, where the notions of cultural capital, stardom, and democratic promises are raised and contested.

The viewers are welcome to fully exploit the potentials of time-based media, which means a duration of time spent with strangers in the exhibition hall. The shared audio-visual experiences in the physical space are utmost precious in the age of post-Neflix (COVID), which should be the essence of expanding intimacies after decentralization.

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