Curatorial Statement 2020-2021


Mar 09, 2020

At the same time that great changes have taken place, we urgently need to rethink the value and validity of art museums and curating practices and things can be done, especially considering the the relationship with reality. Art practice should not be just sorting, summarizing, analyzing, and raising questions. Can it further and positively affect reality?


In the process of pursing of independent individuals and equal rights, in the face of interests and crises, people gradually get started to distinguishing you, me, and him, classifying people and separating classes.

People, is it possible to regroup again?

In addition to uttering your own voice, are you willing to listen to others?

One's voice is weak, why not sing a song together with everyone?


As an institution, art museum is no longer just a place for producing exhibitions. Curating also needs to be put into constructive practice from the level of knowledge production. In the upcoming practice of RAM, we strive to break the usual cognitive framework, based on the following thinking and methods:

  • From the transformation of exhibitions to art projects, the occurrence of art is no longer limited to one place at a time. On the contrary, it has long-term exchanges, discussions with art practitioner, and then to realize in various forms of art activities. Starting from 2020, RAM will work with filmmaker, writer and educator Trinh T. Minh-ha and artist Lee Kit for a period of two to three years. The exhibition will include exhibitions, gatherings, closed-door conversations, workshops, writing, commissioned work, cross-institutional research, etc. happening in multi- places.

  • Art project as a platform will be no longer centered only on the will of artists, curators and artwork production. Instead, practitioners from different fields are invited to come together to "conspire" and build step in-depth research and dialogic networks as the foundation. Eventually it will become a community/collective that can penetrate reality. In 2020, RAM will cooperate with multiple institutions to gather, think, research and practice across regions; connect with local art and culture institutions to share resources, and proactively reach a wide range of audience.

  • To listen with ear and speak nearby those marginal narratives out of our usual vision, RAM project will not subject to a particular ideology. In the process of globalization, people's lives are constantly and seriously being affected by conflicts between super nation powers cause the history of human being changed and rewrote rapidly. Our practice will pay more attention to how those mutations influence and shape individuals. In 2020, the "Curtain Project", under the concept of "Oceanic Vision", carried out a three-year artistic practice and research project.

Paola Pivi, It's a cocktail party, 2008

Splashing out the surfaces

In the 2020-2021 programming, Rockbund Art Museum will go deeper into an exploration of “Splash!” Splash! is a concept to connect together our long-term concerns and projects related to images as an immersive, mutable, and expanded surface. Splash is an expanded idea of painting’s influence to other mediums and knowledge in art.

Beyond not only exhibition-making, but also connected to research and our wider projects,
we will strive to re-think the museum’s position and ability to shape the reality around us.


Moving between different perspectives to understand the shifting roles images, inspired by the legacy of painting:

Splash as a fluid surface that is able to immerse the viewer

Splash as it functions as a screen, as a mechanism to look through and to question

Splash as a literal and metaphorical curtain that helps to frame spaces and subjects

Splash as a physical and porous substance that like skin, gives form and body to an identity or expression

Splash as a way to demarcate lands, territories, and perhaps beyond, with the oceanic flow of the expansive sea.


Not limited to only exhibitions, but also including research and extended projects, the concept of Splash is an opportunity for us to take focus not just on the object, but the movement, change, and transformation between surfaces. It is an understanding of the unexpected connections painting has made with other fields as it is flung across different contexts.



Lee Kit, I think you're crazy, 2017

Extended practices of painting

The invitation to work with John Armleder coincides with the new curatorial focus within our programming related to the expanded possibilities of painting. In addition to this, the exhibition will also be the first exhibition held in the museum after an important renovation that has been made in conjunction with the ten year anniversary of Rockbund Art Museum.

As the first collaboration related to this new exhibition cycle, John Armleder’s project will be the first exhibition in a series of project that revisit the specificity of painting in order to complicate and explore its fluid relationship with other mediums such as moving-image and performance, political contexts, and experiences with the space of the exhibition. This exhibition will be followed by exhibitions with Lee Kit (Hong Kong), Rideau: a project curated in collaboration with Para Site, as well as a group survey exhibition highlighting the margins of painting as expressed by the spatial or symbolic boundaries explored by artists in China, Asia, and other diasporic figures or societies ignored within the historical narrative of painting.


Installation view of "Felix Gonzalez-Torres", 2016, Rockbund Art Museum

Looking through curtains and screens

Rockbund Art Museum is proud to initiate a long-term project that revolves around the open concept of "Rideau" (curtain). Going beyond the short-term temporality of an exhibition, this wider project with transform as it is realised across different regions and in collaboration with a shifting list of collaborators and partners.

Rideau is a concept that will critically explore how artists appropriate and subvert the use of a “curtain” to engage with framing, generating images, staging, and making different representations that help us to understand the boundaries whether they are metaphorical or physical connected to traditional and contemporary theatre, dance, music, and visual art practices.


Rideau can be considered as:

An OBJECT for “framing” domestic life and social spaces

A SURFACE for generating, controlling, concealing, blocking, revealing, screening, mapping, manipulating, experimenting

A curtain can take the form of language, image, and people

It is a MATERIAL for making, projecting, displaying, and staging

It represents an intersection between tradition and contemporary cultures

It is also used as a conceptual device to allocate the boundaries surrounding localities, islands, seas, nations, and wider regions


Curtain is also a mechanism used to unlock, open, or to announce moments in an institutional context.

Think of the connections it has within the environment of theatre, the museum, or in musical/dance/performative arts.

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