Two exhibitions worth visiting if you are in Shanghai for West Bund Art & Design are Women in Abstraction and Hu Xiaoyuan: Paths in the Sand.
Women in Abstraction sets out to write an alternative history of 20thcentury abstraction in the West,with some original incursions into the 21stcentury. Opening today 11th November 2022 and continuing until 8th March 2023, with an ensemble of 34 artists and nearly 100 works diverse in nature, ranging from painting to film, sculpture to photography and installation, will be presented in a chronological layout covering the period from the late 19th century to the present day.
This history of abstraction has been extended to many mediums and thus begins with a presentation of Loïe Fuller’s Serpentine Dance, which fascinated the Parisian public in the late 19th century. This layout is rooted in the European modernist avant-gardes,with an ensemble of works by Sonia Delaunay-Terk evoking the importance of her simultaneous art and her links to literature. Several theme-based rooms bring together artists who participated in the same trend: a room is thus dedicated to the abstractisation ofreality by photographers as early as the 1920s; another to the development of optical and kinetic art in Europe and the United Statesin the 1960s. Other rooms present artists who shared the same sensibility: major painters like Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthalerand Shirley Jaffe are thus brought together in a room dedicated to Abstract Expressionism in the 1950s. The monumental works of several artists, who were essential to the development of textile sculpture in Europe and the United States and whose work is oftengrouped together under the term “Fiber Art”, chime with each other in another room (Magdalena Abakanowicz, Jagoda Bui, SheilaHicks, Rosemarie Castoro).
Documentary ensembles presented in the form of two chronological friezes dedicated to the development of abstraction in the1950s, on the one hand, and to western feminist movements in the 1960s and 1970s, on the other, provide visitors with the keysto a more precise interpretation when they encounter the works presented. The exhibition is also an opportunity to shed light, withthe help of several monographic ensembles, on the work of great artists who are sometimes insufficiently showcased. Thus,an important ensemble of works by Aurelie Nemours testifies to her primordial role in the development of geometrical abstraction inFrance, and an ensemble of stripped back and contemplative canvases by Geneviève Asse pays homage to this recently deceasedFrench artist. Lastly, the installations by Lydia Okumura and Ann Veronica Janssens enable spectators to experience an abstractionthat reaches down from the walls to invade space
Hu Xiaoyuan: Paths in the Sand also opens today 11th November 2022 and runs through to 26th February 2023. Hu Xiaoyuan is the first ever female Chinese artist to be invited to Kassel Documenta, and Paths in the Sand is Hu’s first museum project in China in recent years. For the occasion, Hu Xiaoyuan has created a labyrinthine cavity, where viewers will begin the journey of choices to explore the different dimensions of time and materials the moment they step into the gallery.
With a career over twenty years, Hu Xiaoyuan’s artistic style has always been dominated bydelicate, analytical, and implicit contradictions. Her cross-media works include installation, painting, and multimedia. For the show in Gallery 0, the enclosed space has been transformed into a small labyrinth by elaborate partitions achieved with multiple means.
More than ten artworks in Paths in the Sandare exquisite, like poems that give one goosebumps restraintand sensuality, sharpness and tenderness, organic and inanimate, fragile or indurative, temporary or eternal, at here their existences juxtaposed. Hu Xiaoyuan has been studying and working with raw silk for many years. The material, pliable and translucent, easy and subtle to the touch, comes with a long tradition. Contrary to its light and soft texture, the production of raw silk involves cooking cocoons and reeling silk which is seemingly violent and laborious. Material such as dry and stale bread and discarded space gradealuminum panels are found objects embedded with snippets of their previous owners; they are deconstructedin a collapsed temporal-spatial continuum, becoming symbolic expressions for the passing of time. Each choice is almost undiscernible in the running river that is life.
Hu Xiaoyuan: Paths in the Sand, Curator:Gu Youyou, West Bund Museum and Paul Frèches, Centre Pompidou, 11th November 2022-26th February 2023, Gallery 0 West Bund Museum
Women in Abstraction, Curators: Christine Macel, Head of the contemporary creation and forecasting department assisted by Laure Chauvelot, Assistant curator, Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris 11th November 2022 – 8th March 2023 Gallery 3, West Bund Museum.
It also marks the unprecedented five-year partnership of Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum Project 2019-2024, the most important cultural exchange and cooperation project between France and China, has almost completed the mid-stage. Unique in nature and running over five years, the partnership revolves around several axes: the design of exclusive exhibitions, in tune with the local cultural context; the implementation of cultural programming and mediation activities; training of museum professionals; the presentation in Paris of exhibitions by Chinese artists. Despite the health crisis, the Centre Pompidou × West Bund Museum Project has already attracted more than 1 million visits since its opening in November 2019.