April 26, 2013 - Rockbund Art Museum - From Gesture to Language
April 26, 2013

From Gesture to Language

Jenny Holzer, Purple, 2008. © Jenny Holzer, member, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Collin LaFleche.

From Gesture to Language: Trans-Forming Practices of Art Expression
27 April–11 August 2013

Rockbund Art Museum
No.20 Huqiu Road
Shanghai, China


Georg Baselitz, Louise Bourgeois, Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon, Raphaël Denis (Collectif Anonyme), Philippe Favier, Franz Gertsch, Jenny Holzer, André Kneib, Liu Dan, François Morellet, Robert Morris, Zoran Music, Bruce Nauman, Giuseppe Penone, Arnulf Rainer, Cécile Reims, Martin Salazar, Kiki Smith, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Danh Vo, Terry Winters, Xu Bing, Yan Pei-Ming, Yang Jiechang, Zhao Xuebing

The Rockbund Art Museum of Shanghai is proud to celebrate the creative and privileged links that unite the visual arts and the practice of writing. Pascal Torres Guardiola, curator of the Chalcography Department at Louvre, and Larys Frogier, director of the Rockbund Art Musum, have joined forces to conceive of the exhibition From Gesture to Language. Assembling numerous works originating from the contemporary collection of the Chalcography Department in the Louvre as well as major pieces commissioned specially for the show or else stemming from other collections, the exhibition From Gesture to Language proposes a journey that links up powerful visual and textual constructions in contemporary art.

The exhibition accords a special interest to “anachronism,” which is to say the manner in which classical, modern, and contemporary works can be matched with each other—often in unexpected ways—thereby enriching their interpretation and broadening their historical perspectives.

The exhibition From Gesture to Language makes the connection between conceptual art and traditional techniques of creation in the visual arts. The art of engraving, where the primary material is that of the book, the paper, or the sheet, does not suggest a fortuitous encounter between the avant-garde and tradition, but reveals the proper core of the exhibition, which is dedicated to the renunciation of the traditional classical work—the most imperious symbol of which remains the most famous painting of the Louvre, Mona Lisa. Inviting the public to Funeral of Mona Lisa by Yan Pei-Ming is the most honest way—surely because it is the most playful—to invite the spectator to the celebration. From Gesture to Language proposes above all to rediscover, in a struggle between matter and spirit, the primordial role of art, which is also to nourish the senses in order to impose, on a renewed plastic form apt for the fledgling 21st century, the supremacy of the concept, in opening this relation of the gesture to language in the art of poetic language itself which constructs our literatures in colour, rhythm, and sound.

Around the collection of contemporary engravings of the Louvre, the paintings, sculptures, videos, and installations summon three major issues, from “Power” to the “Body” as well as the “Writing of Space.” Far from fixing the works under the rubric of a theme, the curators on the contrary invite the visitor to combine these issues freely through unexpected associations between the works of art.

From Gesture to Language at Rockbund Art Museum
Rockbund Art Museum
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