Shanghai—Pearl Lam Galleries present “Slippages”, an exhibition that addresses play of interpretation and perceptual significances as well as suggests alterations, allowing a displacement of elemental and spatial conditions inherent in the work and between the artwork and the viewer. This is manifested both in the content and in the formal structure of the work. Featuring expressions of various media, the presented artworks explore a dynamic structure in a participatory way. As such, works that are slippery in meaning or disquieting in effect are set up to challenge usual perceptual habits and allow for a site of discovery spread out in time and space and executed by the artists in encounters with the public.
What forms of communication, miscommunication, intimacy, and exchange will ensue? This reflexive exhibition aims to characterise, and even to diagnose, a tell-tale language in the style of today’s art in terms of what it is responding to, focusing on themes of “reflecting on” or “being concerned with” amidst a practice of mental attitudes and visual tricks. Prior to engaging with the work, the public equally casts an eye over the spaces of construct, both interior and exterior, and it is this reflex that provides the overarching context for the exhibits shown within “Slippages”.
The exhibition further emphasises the critical importance of its apparatus of display so that viewers are not merely looking at an artwork but are also physically experiencing contemporary art.
The exhibiting artists animate responsive trains of thoughts through ingeniously constructed pieces with active mechanisms, inviting the public to step outside customary boundaries, each presenting a different way in which they mediate among art, subject matter, and real life. Here, their materials are still drawn from either a representational approach or for their formal qualities, although much of what is presented and how it is presented alerts viewers to the potent persuasion of displacing our understanding of what should happen where.
The focus is concentrated on artists who deal with meanings on a rather conceptual or formal level: from workspace-like staging to self-staged personas, from staged scenarios to daily abstractions. Thus, the exhibition explores relations that are both public and private in nature and incorporates the viewer into the work as both a willing participant and oblivious performer viewed by others.
The probing of nature and things that oscillate between representation and imitation in order to gain a deeper understanding of the world runs like a thread throughout art. Gao Weigang (b. 1976) not only investigates the concept of mimesis, understood as an imitative representation of reality, and its role in contemporary artistic productions, but he also literally triggers the placing of the original source from its natural environment to enter the “real” space of gallery visitors, invoking interactions with the public to reflect the manner in which architecture and nature encourage a social sphere and to allow different perspectives of how a work can be experienced as a site of discovery. While encompassing strategies to cross the threshold between the visible and the invisible, other works express the implications of concealment as a means of reflection.