This exhibition explores the enduring presence of historical memories in our contemporary lives. Two main aspects at the core of this discussion involve the textualization of histories and the materialization of memories. Much like our complex, chaotic contemporary lives, the works showcased in this exhibition exude a sense of anachronism. They imply that not only are we the products of history, but we also resemble parchments enriched with cultural and nurturing influences as we continuously envision ourselves amidst the living breaths of history.
While it seemingly elicits a certain nostalgia, the exhibition is not exclusively concerned with past happenings. Rather, it extends its interest to the query "what ensues?" following the historical events. Viewers are anticipated to identify notable historical instances in the exhibition, including recent disasters and demonstrations, as well as extraordinary cultural happenings characteristic of particular eras, such as renowned pop singers and chart-topping songs. Unbound from being tied to the past timeline, these events are transformed, at a later time, into monuments, memorials, script adaptations, or cinematic tributes.
Here, history is not simply an object to be observed and handled. Certain aspects of history are turned into stylized texts, open to new interpretations offered by artists through various treatments and acts. Some artists select segments of historical styles and magnify, repeat, displace, or modify them in iterations, calling to mind the patterns in popular culture that once captivated us; other artists engage with "historicity" in a self-reflective or meta fashion, fabricating contents of events—through the intentional adoption of an antiquated or retro aesthetics—that seem to have occurred in the past yet do not conform to our memories. With minimal hesitation, artists willingly unveil their dual roles within cultural institutions as both creators and spectators.
Upon entering the exhibition space, visitors are likely to encounter manufactured ancient artifacts, images evoking a sense of déjà vu, a bewildering monument overlooked after its apex, amateur cultural homage, a Parthenon temple featuring tilted columns, two versions of sunsets, and an array of pirated DVDs. From time to time, ghost-like sounds of pop music can be heard in the air, accompanied by artworks in obsolete yet deeply meaningful mediums like photographs, prints, film reels, and records. Their surfaces carry the marks of history, as they remain subject to decay in the physical world, much like Cheng Tsun-shing’s eloquent portrayal in "The Anxiety of Silver Halides"—a palace of memories is destined to crumble into ruins.
Jeremy DELLER & Nick ABRAHAMS
LEE Kan Kyo
LIAO Xuan-Zhen & HUANG I-Chieh
Andrew Norman WILSON
Supervisor ｜Ministry of Culture