Art Aperture·Lecture | "An Imperial Message" and the Inescapable SystemJul 23, 2022 Saturday 19:00 - 20:30

Rockbund Art Museum 1F
Zhang Yi
Adel Abdessemed: An Imperial Message
Platform: Exhibition Education
  • About the lecture

    Eine kaiserliche Botschaft (An Imperial Message) is a short parable by Frank Kafka, one of the most important literary figures of the 20th century. The parable is about a messenger who failed to deliver the message of the dying emperor out of the majestic and obstructing city wall no matter how hard he tried. In other words, he just couldn't reach "your gate", not to mention to read the "imperial message" he was supposed to deliver to you. The process of delivering the message from afar was teeming with difficulties and uncertainties. The story, in a sense, is a metaphor of individuals escaping the system. The profound insights Kafka demonstrated imbues the story with a strong sense of contemporaneity. 

    "Metaphor" plays an important role in Adel Abdessemed's practice. To him, "escape" is a theme that he constantly revisits and responds to. It pushes us to think: What are the "inescapable systems" surrounding us? As individuals living within this system, will we gradually lose ourselves? 

    Speaker Zhang Yi is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature and World Literature of Zhejiang Normal University. He will lead audience to take a closer look into the artistic characteristics of An Imperial Message and several other works by Kafka, including Before the Law, The Next Village and The Great Wall of China. With an introduction of Kafka's life stories, the speaker inspires audience to reflect upon the contemporary dailiness, exploring social issues such as public relations and self-consciousness. Those inescapable systems are exactly where Kafka' charisma lies and the embodiment of the abyss of terror of the modern world. 

  • Zhang Yi is a Ph.D. Candidate in Comparative Literature and World Literature at Zhejiang Normal University. His interest of research includes Kafka studies and 20th century German literature. His writings and translations have been published on journals such as Writers and World Literature Studies. His book Variations on Rescue and Escape – Interpretation of Kafka's "A Country Doctor: Short Stories" (co-author) will be published soon.

  • Cover of The Complete Stories, collection of classic tales of Kafka, Designer: Peter Mendelsund
  • Scholar, 1901, by Ludwig Deutsch It was an oil painting from Kafka's times and the cover of Imperial Messages: Orientalism as Self-Critique in the Habsburg Fin de Siècle.
  • Ticket info

    Free admission, reservation is required.

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Art Aperture·Lecture | "An Imperial Message" and the Inescapable System

Jul 23, 2022 Saturday 19:00 - 20:30

Rockbund Art Museum 1F

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