press release

Rockbund Art Museum is delighted to present our latest group exhibition, Tell Me a Story: Locality and Narrative. The exhibition presents 11 stories from different parts of Asia, all rooted in local historical and cultural backgrounds. Told from the unique perspectives of the artists as well as their deeply personal connections with the various locales, a new and unfamiliar outlook of Asia is revealed. From the borders of northern Thailand to Malaysia, from Japan and Korea to Taiwan and Hong Kong—these are places that we know of as sites of tourism and consumption without really understanding much about their current socio-historical conditions. Indeed, even in Shanghai—a city where we live our everyday lives—behind the glamour of skyscrapers lie parallel worlds of stories and meaning on the waters.

Each artwork in the exhibition is a point of reflection for a particular form of local life. Some are based on the current moment, while others look into the past or forward to the future. These points refer to each other, interweaving a network of living trajectories through which the shared, occluded vicissitudes of Asian states since the challenges are rendered visible. This allows us to understand ourselves better by knowing about others better.

Curator Amy Cheng deploys the concept of "constellational vision" to describe the context and distinctiveness of the exhibition: "The artists and their works originate from various regions and countries, and the works have their own worlds and distinctive temporalities—as though dots of stars in a galaxy. Yet these commingling of sparks form an ever-changing geography of social relations—political, economic or cultural—including, of course, all manners of explicit or implicit political formations."

Curator Hsieh Feng-Rong states: "In the historical process of globalization, grand narratives of history are disappearing and processes of cultural transformations are being accelerated. A fragmented language renders it difficult for coherence and depth to exist. Through the artworks in the exhibition, we aspire to start a conversation among the spectators and participants. Each one of us—the spectators included—is entitled to form our own perspectives on history. We regard every single artwork as a dynamic piece of the narrative structure. In the process of producing a narrative and meaning, the artists, the spectators, and the stories themselves engage in an interactive process—an importance experience in and of itself."

Au Sow-Yee, Chen Chieh-Jen, Guo Xi and Zhang Jianling, Haejun Jo and KyeongSoo Lee, MAP Office (Laurent Gutierrez, Valérie Portefaix), Filed Recordings (Li Xiaofei, Jim Speers, Clinton Watkins, Tracey Guo, and Tu Neill), Su Yu-Hsien, Koki Tananka, Watan Wuma, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Tomoko Yoned