Presented at the ShanghART Singapore Gallery up to 23 June 2019, the installation ‘Trying to Remember a Tree (iii) – The world will surely collapse’, by Robert Zhao Renhui, was triggered by a seemingly commonplace event: a tree collapsed near his home and was cut up by the authorities prior to removal. Exhibited on a 1:1 scale, this tree symbolises the repetitive gestures of mankind on a nature treated as bulky. The sections of the trunk form a prophecy that Mankind must assemble like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle to realise what the future holds for them.

Liu Chuang’s solo exhibition ‘Earthbound Cosmology’ expands this issue, taking McLuhan’s prophecy “the Earth is programmable” at face value, at a time when geo-engineering is making rapid progress. In the form of a science-fiction narrative, the artist weaves novel links between energy and information, both real and imagined. With Bitcoin Mining and Field Recordings of Ethnic Minorities (2018), the artist demonstrates, for example, the link between Bitcoin and environmental destruction in China.  With the future so uncertain, one question remains: has nature already been replaced by an artificial and cybernetic system, and if so, can and should we reprogram it?

‘Trying to remember a tree (iii) – The world will surely collapse’ from 22 September 2018 to 23 June 2019, ShanghART Singapore 

Liu Chuang – Earthbound Cosmology, from 16 March to 12 May 2019, Qiao Space and Antenna Space, Shanghai, China

Alice Audouin and Marguerite Courtel 


March 2019

Crédit : Robert Zhao Renhui, “Trying to Remember a Tree (iii) – The world will surely collapse”, courtesy of the artist

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