Just a few blocks from Long Museum is Yuz Museum, opened by Chinese-Indonesian entrepreneur and collector Budi Tek. A relative newcomer to the local museum scene, Yuz Museum is set to make a splash with the large-scale installation “Rain Room” and a solo-exhibition from Yang Fudong.
As the name suggests, “Rain Room” is an indoor room with water perpetually pouring from the ceiling. The “rain” is controlled by sensors, which shut off the water when visitors walk underneath. This monumental work encourages people to become performers on an unlikely stage, while at the same time creating an intimate atmosphere of contemplation.
The work is also an invitation to explore the roles that art, science, technology and human ingenuity can play in stabilizing our environment.
“Rain Room” was first presented at the Barbican in London in 2012. It was later shown at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2013. The installation is making its Asian debut at the Yuz Museum Shanghai, where it will run from September 1 to December 31.
Conceived by the artistic team Random International, “Rain Room” is on view courtesy of the Yuz Collection, which commissioned a 150 square-meter site-specific version of the installation in response to the vast space of the Yuz Museum. This is the most ambitious scale of the work to date, covering 50 percent more area than previous versions.
Founded in 2005, Random International is a collaborative studio for experimental practice within contemporary art. Taking science as a means to develop a new material vocabulary, their work invites consideration through exploration of behavior and natural phenomena — with the viewer an active participant.
To bring the “Rain Room” experience to as many people as possible, organizers at the Yuz Museum have introduced extended viewing hours as well as a “view only” queue for those who want to see the installation in action without actually walking underneath it.
On view concurrently with “Rain Room” is a solo exhibition by Chinese contemporary art master Yang Fudong, entitled “Twin Tracks.”
Using film and video, Yang Fudong captures the potent interval between reality and unreality. According to the museum, his works hint at the tenuous relationship between maturity and naiveté, beauty and sadness, freedom and responsibility, broadening the understanding of film narrative, while also reflecting the inner world of Yang himself.
The title of the exhibition, according to Yang, comes from the Chinese proverb nanyuan beizhe, literally meaning to “go south by driving north.” This title is meant as a nod to the eclectic works on display, as well as Yang’s improvisational creative process.
According to organizers, the exhibition explores the complex, ambiguous relationship between reality and unreality. The images, and themes within them, seem to alternatively emerge from echoes of the past, while others are obscured and disappear in a distant haze.
Through the primary medium of video, Yang’s work expands upon the formal qualities of film language. When creating a work, Yang does not start with a clear concept or image in mind. Instead, as he describes it, he pursues a “recognized sensibility, which happens to be precisely the same sensibility felt by the audience.” The final result is a “recognized film” independent of a unified style or subject matter.
“Twin Tracks” focuses on five major works by Yang created since 2007: East of Que Village (2007), Blue Kylin: A Journal of Shan Dong (2008), The Fifth Night (2010), About the Unknown Girl: Ma Sise (2013-2015) and The Colored Sky: New Women II (2014).