Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wild and Wooly at Wu Gaozhong's Solo Exhibition at the Zendai MoMA in Shanghai

Today Chinese artist Wu Gaozhong drove a car covered with millions of black boar bristles around Shanghai's Pudong district as part of the Zendai MoMA 366 Intrude exhibition series, and as a precursor to his solo exhibition which opens tomorrow at the same place.

Spectral Memory is the way I decided to render “悚然的回忆”,the title for Wu Gaozhong's show given by the venerable Chinese critic Li Xianting, who has taken an extended hiatus from the world of curating, with the rare case of ongoing support for exceptional artists like Wu Gaozhong. The literal meaning of ”悚然的回忆“ comes from an idiom and could be translated as "hair-raising," but I didn't want to telegraph the artist's visual punch that way, or give away the punchline, if you will, so prematurely, so elected for a more metaphorical rendering, after much consultation with the Lao Li and the artist. Besides, "hair-raising" is too much like the title of a horror movie, whereas Spectral Memory captured the ghostly, haunting feeling that comes with the sorts of remembrance that Wu Gaozhong's work elicits.

Tomorrow, Spectral Memory (reloaded) launches at the Zendai MoMA 证大现代艺术馆, as Wu Gaozhong's first solo exhibition in Shanghai. With a powerful array of all new works, the show promises to offer a madeline cookie dipped in tea (to paraphrase Proust), to take us down our own rembrances of things past. With his carved wooden sculptures of everyday objects from mundane life to pivotal moments, embedded with black boar bristle to give the appearance of sprouting hair, Wu Gaozhong offers sites of intimate remembrance that connect the minutiae with the macro, and the personal with the larger experiences of us all.