The Art Space in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (Co-exhibition)
“…mechanical reproduction emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual. To an ever-greater degree the work of art reproduced becomes the work of art designed for reproducibility.”
The public presentability of most artworks is still confinedly dependent on museums or galleries, which often makes the viewers feel excluded. What else could be done to abridge the distance between art and viewers instead of replicating the artwork, as Benjamin suggested?
Seeking an answer to this query, I proposed a collaborative exhibition with Jin Li, an artist who focuses on the silent majority and taciturnity. The installations are designed to initiate the encounter between the silent majorities in Li’s depiction and the silent public in reality outside of the context of art museums. The mobility and potentiality for mass production emancipate artwork and museums from their strict site-specificity. Art spaces become prefabricated products in the age of mechanical reproduction.
Collaborative Artist And Exhibition Works
Born and living as an awkwardly introverted person, Jin Li (1972-) has pondered the theme of taciturnity and the silent majority in her painting since 2008. This recurring theme consists of eight series, including Aphasia which reflects the defensive or acquiescent silence under political pressure, authority surveillance, capricious family, or sexual violence, and The Man in A Case which portrays self-deception. Li captures the untold desolation and despondence in her paintings through a morbid sense of humor.
Selected works from Aphasia 失语者 and The Man in A Case 套中人 Series, 2014-2018, Jin Li. Oil on canvas
Multiple sites of diverse conditions are selected for this exhibition to introduce Li’s artwork to the vast group of the silent majority in her depictions. At each site, the exhibition will stay for several days or up to one week. From remote villages to the city center and wheatfields to tourist spots, the “Silent Majority” exhibition looks forward to confronting audiences with different backgrounds but all share moments of taciturnity in their lives.
Each Gallery-Box simulates a type of taciturnity that most of us would confront in our lives. Corresponding Paintings of Li and interactive props are installed in the interior.
*Prototype diagrams are not to scale. For full construction drawing set, please scroll down.
Modular System And Assembly
To manufacture the Gallery-Box as a product of mechanical reproduction, only basic functionality and visual elements remain. Exterior claddings are derived from the common materials that can be found in cityscapes or construction sites, resembling the scattered pieces of buildings.
The partition modules of the Gallery-Box come into two standard templates with variable height and cladding materials. Depending on the needed size of a Gallery-Box, the number of modules varies. Because of the customizability, myriad designs of Gallery-Boxes beyond the existing construction drawing can be fabricated. The modularity of art space is conducive to its mobility, and thus, a traveling exhibition is made possible. The sizes of all prefabricated modules are based on the volume of a standard mini truck trailer to achieve maximum flexibility in city traffic.