With an exhibition area of 16,000 square meters, the Long Museum West Bund is the second private museum opened by investment guru and business mogul Liu Yiqian and his wife Wang Wei, both of whom are noted art collectors.
Opened in 2012, the museum has already attracted considerable attention. In fact, last year the museum was visited by none other than Angelina Jolie and Prince Charles.
This September, the Long Museum will welcome a special exhibition entitled “15 Rooms,” curated by Klaus Biesenbach, director of MoMA PS1 and chief curator-at-large at the Museum of Modern Art, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director of the Serpentine Gallery.
For the exhibit, 15 artists from China and overseas were invited to create performance pieces in each of the titular rooms. Using human beings as subject matter, each piece explores the relationship between space, time and physicality. With a new situation inside each room, visitors can engage in an eclectic and intimate art experience.
According to Obrist, the upcoming exhibit represents the expansion of an exciting new concept in performance art.
“This exhibition was first presented as ‘11 Rooms’ in 2011 as part of the Manchester International Festival, and ‘14 Rooms’ at Art Basel in 2014,” explained OBrist, “This surely will be a thrilling exhibition, as it reflects how performative art can create the possibility of an exhibition that might be restaged later, or of something that can be reproduced endlessly. Art can travel over time — not just through objects and not just through documentation. ‘15 Rooms’ is like this: from the basic text, it can be restaged in different places all over the world and it can also take place again in 50 year’s time.”
Also impressive is the list of artists attached to the project, which includes Marina Abramovic and Yoko Ono.
Born 1946 in Belgrade, Serbia, Abramovic is widely regarded as the “mother of performance art.” Her performances include a series of experiments aimed at exploring the limits of her own body and her own vulnerability.
Abramovic gained international acclaim for her 2010 show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York entitled “The Artist is Present.” For this work, Abramovic sat motionless for over 700 hours as she gazed into the faces of 1,400 visitors who sat across from her.
Another eye-catching name is avant-garde Japanese artist Yoko Ono. Born in 1933, Ono has worked as a visual artists as well as poet, musician and performer. By examining the complexity of human emotions — from loss and conflict to harmony and love — she experiments with her audience’s conception of art and the world in general. In her room, entitled “Touch Piece,” visitors are encouraged to touch one another in the dark. Some may be blindfolded, others may discover pencils to write messages on the walls, challenging each visitor’s sense of intimacy and privacy.
Space for the exhibition was purpose-built by Herzog and de Meuron, the design firm behind the famous Bird’s Nest National Stadium in Beijing.