The Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai presents a major solo exhibition by French artist, Philippe Parreno – Synchronicity, his first in China from 8 July – 17 September 2017. Curated by the Director of the museum, Larys Frogier, the exhibition will occupy four of the museum’s six floors, also extending to its seventh floor glass rooftop.
Over the past twenty years, Parreno has radically redefined the exhibition going experience by exploring its possibilities as a medium in its own right. Realised in dialogue with the physicality and functionality of the museum’s architecture, the exhibition will alter the building’s current existence through an unexpected use of time, space, light, and sound to become a semi automated puppet, a perpetual motion of events in which Parreno subverts the conventions of the gallery space.
Curator of the exhibition, Larys Frogier, states: “Parreno invites visitors to engage with contradictory notions of the physical, emotional, and conceptual. He blurs the distinction between reality and fiction to create an all-encompassing world of endless possibilities”.
By manipulating light, shadow, and duration, Parreno will guide visitors through a constantly evolving space. The artist will cover various windows of the renovated Art Deco building with blinds that will act as eyelids to the building, opening and closing in different locations, and to variable time sequences – each gallery space shifts from darkness to twilight, and then to full light. Some blinds will be activated using motors, but for the very first time Parreno with dramaturge Asad will work with ‘dalang’ performers to operate the remainder. A ‘dalang’ refers to the puppeteer in an Indonesian Wayang performance; traditionally controlling the white screen and lighting that together create the shadow puppets that make up the performance.
In this exhibition, ‘dalang’ performers will interact with visitors to the museum in various ways. They will help to set in motion the exhibition’s components, from installation, sound, film, to moving elements, and will also have conversations with visitors as well as other dramaturgical elements.
A core team of musicans/performers have been recruited by the Rockbund Art Museum to accompany and support artistically the exhibition as dalang performers.