From September 3 to September 23, 2022, the Power Station of Art (PSA) will present “Terrace,” a documentation exhibition at its SPA space on the fifth floor. Adjacent to PSA’s outdoor riverside terrace, the exhibition revisits “Project Terrace,” a non-profit art project launched by artist Alice CHEN at Villa Basset between 2020 and 2022. The exhibition showcases 83 pieces/groups of works and documents with graphic and text materials, documentary photography, videos, and miniature physical documents. It details the project’s site-specific creations by 11 artists/groups including Alice CHEN. The exhibition brings the “big terrace” at PSA into a dialogue with the “small terrace” at Villa Basset, resulting in an ongoing documentation of Shanghai’s contemporary art scene from 2020 to 2022.
Initiated by artist Alice CHEN, “Project Terrace” invited artists who work and live in Shanghai to Villa Basset to engage in artistic practice, research, and exchange in a site-specific manner on the terrace. All works produced must be related to the terrace’s architectural history, site characteristics, geographic location, and surroundings. The project consisted of 10 terms, with one Shanghai-based artist/group invited each term, showcasing the diversity of Shanghai-based artists. Each term lasts for six weeks, during which visitors were granted access by invitation for viewing. In addition, each term featured a “Terrace Chat” section that invited experts to conduct an open discussion on a specific topic. A weekly live streaming session allowed artistic activities on the terrace to overcome the limitations of physical space and reach a wider audience.
For Project Terrace Term I, ZHANG Ding’s work No Echo took the form of an outdoor billboard. The work also marked the first time that the artist had directly used his own writing for a work since the beginning of his art career.
The second term unfolded around YU Ji’s dual identity as an artist and the director of “am art space”, showcasing YU’s work Stones in Her Pocket and Alice CHEN’s work “…”. Alice attempted to illustrate am art space by echoing it physical layout at the site of “Project Terrace”.
SHI Yong’s work Caution! Your Intervention Will Make an Impact on It, as It Will Also Make an Impact on You in Term III, together with its special performance UN-balance choreographed by LIU Yanan, and YIN Yi's work Music for the Terrace in Term IV focused on the terrace as a public space which suspended between different symbols of power. The works employed the audience's body and sense of hearing to reflect on habitual behaviors and space.
As the project’s fifth term occurred on the day of the “spring equinox,” artist YANG Zhenzhong planted a willow and a mulberry tree upside down in several cement pots and placed them on the terrace. The work titled The Equinox is now on display by PSA’s main entrance on Miaojiang Road. With the willow tree already sprouting and the mulberry tree still sleeping, they continue to tell the allegory of the positive and the negative, the visible and the invisible, seeking an alternative way of living while being deprived of their originally-intended way of growth.
In Term VI, Jiangnan Stack, an artistic platform self-organised by artists, presented its second season on the terrace. Four artists – XU Zhe, JIN Feng, LI Ran, and SHI Qing explored the architectural history of the terrace and the cultural memory of the area where it is located. With their performances, they infused the site with happenstance.
The seventh term witnessed how DeYi Studio’s works and interactive performance lectures called for artists to stay vigilant about and away from the monopoly of the “White Cube–Gallery–Exhibition” system, and in turn make art in a purely playful state.
Both Term VIII and Term IX examined the emotional labor and mental state of human beings in the current society. The performance group “_ao_ao_ing ensemble” and artist WANG Xin responded to people’s varying needs: to be perfect or to be healed, with the assistance of cutting-edge technologies, algorithms, and artificial intelligence.
The project’s concluding Term X displayed DING Yun’s work Far or Close, in which three cuboids of different sizes, made purely of rammed sand, gradually deformed, or even collapsed with exposure to wind and rain on the terrace, posing a metaphor of life.
Besides introducing the audience to the ten terms, the PSA exhibition traces and visualizes how Alice CHEN was deeply involved in “Project Terrace” – from setting up the structure and tone of the project, to introducing and documenting the artists and their works, as well as CHEN’s personal artworks.
To embrace greater meanings beyond “Project Terrace,” the exhibition will also feature newly-developed artistic conceptions based on PSA’s iconic “big terrace” on the fifth floor. These plans will serve as an invitation to visitors who are about to enter the PSA’s terrace via the exhibition hall, welcoming them to dive into an experiment of artistic thinking and to explore more possibilities of the familiar site. Just as its initiator and host Alice CHEN noted, “‘Project Terrace’ should be seen as encompassing everything that the project undergoes and generates, past or future. It is co-created by everyone who comes into contact with it and still evolving.”
Artists (listed in alphabetical order by last name): Alice CHEN, DING Yun, DeYi Studio (Paul DEVAUTOUR and XIA Yilan), Jiangnan Stack (Second Season: XU Zhe, JIN Feng, LI Ran and SHI Qing), _ao_ao_ing ensemble, LIU Yanan, LIU Yi, SHI Yong, WANG Xin, YU Ji, YIN Yi, YANG Zhenzhong, ZHANG Ding.