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Muses, Yu Gong and Compasses
Group Exhibition Pingshan Art Museum, Shenzhen
Date: 06.20, 2020 - 08.30, 2020

Artists: BIRDHEAD 鸟头 |  YANG Fudong 杨福东 | 

Host|Culture, Radio,Television, Tourism and Sports Bureau of Pingshan District
Organizer|Pingshan Art Museum
Curator|Lu Mingjun

In the 2010 film of Mnemosyne, African British artist John Akomfrah composes a "sad song" about migration and travel, memory and mourning, knowledge and identity, nature and politics, following the poetic path laid out by Dante, Beckett, Emily Dickinson, James Joyce, Milton, Nietzsche, Shakespeare, Sophocles, and Dylan Thomas, etc. Coincidentally, Singaporean artist Ho Tzu Nyen epitomizes a similar grief in his gripping epic, The Cloud of Unknowing. Inspired by A Theory of Cloud: Toward a History of Painting written by art historian Hubert Damisch, Ho takes classic artworks of Caravaggio, Zurbarán, Correggio, Bernini, Mantegna, René Magritte and others as the blueprint, depicting the protagonist in each section as clouds, boundless and flexible, yet interwoven with love and hatred, good and evil, as well as other absurd, bizarre and compelling emotions and experiences.

Ten years later, the Exhibition of Muses, Yu Gong and Compasses will continue the epic along their imaginative and narrative paths. From John Akomfrah's Mnemosyne and Ho Tzu Nyen’s The Cloud of Unknowing, to Gong Jian's Muse, and Fang Di's Minister, from Yang Fudong's Moving Mountains, Chu Bingchao's The Hill of Qifu, Zheng Guogu's Planting Geese and Pig Controlling Computer to Duan Jianyu's Horse, from Rachel Rose's Wil-o-Wisp to Birdhead's Passions Bloom Ambitions and Phototheism, here presents an epic story composed by Muses, Yu Gong and Compasses and a profound fable born out of myths, legends and magic.

A century ago, the rise of monopoly capitalism and imperialism messed with people’s head and triggered two world wars. While A century later, the crisis of capitalism and the global pandemic have once again forced humanity into an Age of Ecstasy where myths, legends and magic thrive. We all remember Marx's famous quote from The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon:" Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce." It’s still hard for us to say the situation today is a farce yet, but we are pretty sure those crazy phantoms from a hundred years ago are back with us.

Written by / Lu Mingjun
Translated by / Ye Kefei

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