March 26, 2018 - FM Centre for Contemporary Art - The Szechwan Tale
March 26, 2018

FM Centre for Contemporary Art

Mei Lanfang performing Resisting the Jin Invaders (Kàng Jīn Bīng). Courtesy Mei Lanfang Memorial Museum, Beijing.

The Szechwan Tale
China, Theatre and History
April 12–July 15, 2018

Press preview: April 11, 11am–1pm
Opening: April 12, 8–11pm
Talk: April 14, 11am–1pm, with Marco Scotini, Lü Peng, Liu Zhen, and artists Liu Ding, Mao Tongqiang, Zhuang Hui

FM Centre for Contemporary Art
Frigoriferi Milanesi
Via Piranesi 10
20137 Milan
Italy
Hours: Wednesday–Saturday 2–7:30pm

T +39 02 73981
F +39 02 739 8289
info@fmcca.it

www.fmcca.it
Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

The Szechwan Tale
China, Theatre and History
April 12–July 15, 2018

Press preview: April 11, 11am–1pm
Opening: April 12, 8–11pm
Talk: April 14, 11am–1pm, with Marco Scotini, Lü Peng, Liu Zhen, and artists Liu Ding, Mao Tongqiang, Zhuang Hui

FM Centre for Contemporary Art
Frigoriferi Milanesi
Via Piranesi 10
20137 Milan
Italy
Hours: Wednesday–Saturday 2–7:30pm

T +39 02 73981
F +39 02 739 8289
info@fmcca.it

www.fmcca.it
Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

Curated by Marco Scotini

FM Centre for Contemporary Art is pleased to present a new large-scale exhibition curated by Marco Scotini—following the line of research into the decentralization of hegemonic models of western artistic modernity set with the latest exhibitions Non-Aligned Modernity, focusing on Eastern European Art, and The White Hunter, on African Art. The Szechwan Tale. China, Theatre and History will open on the occasion of miart, International Modern and Contemporary Art Fair of Milan. The exhibition is an evolution of the section curated by Marco Scotini in Anren, Sichuan (China), as part of Today’s Yesterdaythe first Anren Biennale, held from October 2017 to February 2018 under the artistic direction of art historian Lü Peng.

The Szechwan Tale focuses on the relationship between theater (as the space of masks) and history (as a plot in the making). There are two motives underlying the origins of the thematic choice of this exhibition. The first is the very location of its first edition, in Szechwan Province, as the fictional background to one of the most popular and mature works of the playwright Bertolt Brecht: The Good Person of Szechwan, written in 1940. The other is the famous plastic, clay group of 114 life-sized figures from 1964 hosted in Anren and entitled Rent Collection Courtyard. In both cases, and despite their differences, they concern the ongoing dialogue, between East and West, between past and present, that has not, and will not cease to find in theatrical play (of masks and unmasking) a series of references, contaminations, exchanges and fictional or real projections.

The exhibition will cover all these subjects within a sort of meta-theatre in which a series of international, Chinese and Sichuan-based artists provide a deconstruction of the tools of the theatrical machine, such as: the audience, the curtain, the actors (the mask, the puppet, the shadow theater), the costumes, the props and the sets (a changing and unchanging environment), the text and the music, as metaphors of an equal number of social phenomena and of their intrinsically historic nature. The continuous recourse to marionettes, toys and masks that are encountered along the way, is nothing more than a miniaturized image of the 20th century: it is the anti-monumental image of its history, of the "magical" period of its infancy. The curatorial approach organizing the exhibition uses theatrical techniques to stage the exhibition itself. It thus uses one of Brecht’s theatrical principle, by means of which the world can become the object of representation through the gaps between what is real and what is recitation, between nudity and disguise. However, only as long as it is presented as a world that can be changed.  

The new edition of The Szechwan Tale is enriched with the works of other internationally renown Chinese artists coming from Italian private collections. Beside the archive material on the Peking Opera artist Mei Lanfang, and his relationship with the Russian Proletarian Theatre, the exhibition features additional documents concerning The Good Person of Szechwan by Bertolt Brecht as it was staged by Giorgio Strehler at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan in 1957-58, and the costume worn by soprano Gina Cigna in the '30s for Puccini's Turandot at the Teatro alla Scala.

Exhibited artists: Cao Fei, Cornelius Cardew, Chen Zhen, Chia-Wei Hsu, Céline Condorelli, Peter Friedl, Yervant Gianikian & Angela Ricci Lucchi, Piero Gilardi, Dan Graham, Joris Ivens, Jia Zhangke, Joan Jonas, William Kentridge, Lin Yilin, Liu Ding, Mao Tongqiang, Rithy Panh, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Lisl Ponger, Qiu Zhijie, Pedro Reyes, Santiago Sierra, Sun Xun, Marko Tadić, Ulla von Brandenburg, Clemens von Wedemeyer & Maya Schweizer, Wei Minglun, Yang Yuanyuan, Zhang Huan, Zhuang Hui & Dan'er.
Mei Lanfang and the Russian Proletarian Theatre (research curator Andris Brinkmanis).

In collaboration with: Anren Biennale, Mei Lanfang Memorial Museum (Beijing), Italian-Chinese Cultural InstituteNABA – Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti Milano.
FM Centre for Contemporary Art is promoted by Open Care - Servizi per l'Arte, the only company in Italy offering integrated services for the management and conservation of art.

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