Reinventing Heritage Through Art
(Chengdu, February 2021) - The Temple House launches a new art and culture series titled ‘House of Heritage’ in collaboration with friend of the House Ms. Frances Li, Global COO of The I.M. Pei Foundation and a renowned figure in art and cultural management and philanthropy.
House of Heritage founded by Ms. Frances Li with the overall mission to curate culture, share public knowledge, and connect creators with the public in an open dialogue on heritage and the possibilities for its reinvention. Taking the form of documentaries, exhibitions, lectures and workshops the series hopes to share knowledge and encourage discovery, and in this way nurture a kinder approach to social progress. This vision to protect heritage through innovation and connection is one that is deeply engrained at The Temple House, where contemporary architecture complements and highlights the House’s original Qing dynasty courtyards.
The new series will give artists a curated space to reimagine narratives, images, ideas and themes from the past and relate it to a modern-day audience, inviting new exchanges of dialogues. The Temple House has already arranged a lineup of creators for 2021 beginning with Ju Anqi, one of the most widely recognised members of China’s “New Generation” experimental filmmakers and contemporary visual artist. It continues with artist and coder Cao Yuxi, whose monumental installations explore technologies such as AI and data mapping to address aspects of modern life, and finally furniture designer and collector Chen Renyi, known for his work creating a new language for contemporary Chinese design that draws from traditional calligraphy and philosophy.
Ju Anqi’s current show at The Temple House, entitled “Let’s See Some Grass Tonight”, is the artist’s first of the year as well as his first collaboration with a hotel. A filmmaker who has often used the style of documentary film to tell fictional stories, he continues to subvert rules and expectations in his work as a contemporary artist.
“Let’s See Some Grass Tonight” is an exploration of Ju’s long fascination with grass – a frequent subject in traditional Chinese painting and a symbol for vitality – and features a site-specific installation at The Temple House formed by 300 LED panels mounted on the House’s open brick wall, as well as a his trademark monochromatic “Grass Style” paintings.
To Ju, grass is strong and resilient, as opposed to flowers which are fragile and temporary. Ju feels that this resilience is particularly meaningful in the current times as we deal with COVID-19. The name of the exhibition “Let’s See Some Grass Tonight” itself is a direct invitation from artist to viewer to participate in something together. The artist’s intention is one of intimacy and sincerity that is particularly resonant in a moment of uncertainty and physical distancing.
Ju reinvents the classical symbol of grass in his highly contemporary work, while also referencing Caoshu (literally ‘grass script’), the style of calligraphy recognised for its disregard of rules. In his “Grass Style” paintings which grace The Temple House’s lobby, the subject matter is abstracted into triangular forms that could suggest the Chinese maobi brush or razor-sharp blades. Simple yet inscrutable, these works occupy a vital position in the domain of Asian monochromatic painting.
In his new LED installation also titled “Let’s See Some Grass Tonight”, the artist’s first public art installation in a hotel, Ju covers an open brick wall of The Temple House with flashing LED panels. The juxtaposition of the work’s modern form against its setting among the Qing architectural features of the House poses questions of what ‘heritage’ means to the viewer. The work presents an interesting counterpoint to Ju’s earlier piece in this medium “Right Right Right Right Right”, exhibited at the opening show of the A4 Art Museum in Chengdu in 2017.
For more media queries, please contact: