The Aurora Museum, in collaboration with LIAN Cultural Development Co., Ltd., works with artist Hu Jieming, a pioneering figure in the realm of Chinese new media art, to curate and present “Lights of Time – Solo Exhibition of Hu Jieming”, as part of the “City Programs” of the 11th Shanghai Biennale. Different from the conventional white cube or dark cube, the specific settings of the Chandelier Hall on the one hand imbue the exhibition with a sense of unique challenge and charisma, and on the other inspire new verve and momentum in his artistic practice. Works on view are all recent works and are created specifically for the space.
“Time” is a motif that Hu Jieming has been concentrating on for long. As a pioneer in the fields of digital media art and video installation in China, Hu Jieming manages to trace back the history that has been embedded in the earth, the people and the texture of the city by resorting to the various media and bringing the possibilities of technology and the uncertainties of new media into full play. In other words, he always attempts to search for the eternal and touching essence in between the light of memories.
The title of the 11th Shanghai Biennale is “Why Not Ask Again? Manoeuvres, Disputations and Stories”, trying to raise questions at the beginning point, end point and middle point; and Hu’s practice and exploration correspond poetically to the theme. He resorted to experimenting with the “input and output” method. By using the computer programme that he had been working on for many years as the “media”, he endeavored to inspire dialogues between the intelligence of human brain and artificial intelligence and to be engaged in constant dialectics. During the process, images of memory were constantly generated. The images didn’t remain unchanged. Instead, sometimes they seemed clear and sometimes vague. They either crossed each other or overlapped. And they alternated between being intact and broken. The variations gave rise to different possibilities of narration.
Hu Jieming is very much under the influence of “Matter and Memory” by Henri Bergson and “The Time-Image” by Deleuze. In the latter, in particular, Deleuze proposed the abstruse equation “thoughts = image = time”. In the exhibition on view at Aurora Museum, it could be expected that the ingenious integration with the sparkles of human intelligence and the essence of the field spirit will foster new vitality and inspiration.
The location of the Aurora Museum in itself marks an encounter between the new and the old, the past and the present, history and new science. As a new cultural landmark by the Huangpu River, the museum is at the forefront enjoying the splendid views of the century-old Bund and in the meantime neighbors the Shanghai Tower, the tallest skyscraper in China, as well as many other high-rises that collectively form the magnificent skyline of the city. The cultural relics and ancient artworks collected by the museum turned to become the elements for Hu’s experimentation with“input and output” method. By demonstrating the dimension of time in a transcendental manner, the artist intended to lead audiences to participate more often and deeply, to explore further, and to get a better sense of history alongside the constructed course of time.