press release

Things Entangling A collaboration with KADIST June 9–September 27, 2020

Pio Abad, Liu Chuang, Hikaru Fujii, Dale Harding, Yukihisa Isobe, Asako Iwama, Kapwani Kiwanga, Jumana Manna, mixrice, Tom Nicholson, The Propeller Group and Superflex, Alexandra Pirici

Things Entangling, the culmination of a long-term curatorial collaboration between the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and KADIST, is currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo until September 27, 2020.

Trees, fossils, books, artifacts—these are some of our companions as we live in and make sense of the world. They are protagonists in our reconstructions of the past and constructions of the present, as both individuals and societies. They may create their own meaning through their own agency, or gain it from our use and circulation of them—even our discarding of them. They have the ability to configure social realities, cultural identities, and human subjectivities. Against a global context of challenging ecological and sociopolitical changes, this exhibition features artworks that trace and animate the trajectories, nexuses, and mutations of things, in which realities and histories collide and reverberate continuously. These things entangling are not framed as fixed but as always in process. They might be material objects or living subjects, but they are always also mediators of meaning, ideology, and value.

From installation to video, photography, and collage, the artworks effectively make silent things speak thanks to new assemblages that unearth hidden histories of the subordinated, follow nature’s evolutions under the brutal circumstances of capitalism, imagine the repatriation of cultural heritage, and decipher the unfulfilled aspirations underlying historical and contemporary dislocations. When the twelve invited artists invoke anthropology, archaeology, or historiography to seek rootedness or to probe resonances with specific moments and places, they aim less to excavate or clarify the past than to open up a new politics of interpretation for building the present. Haunted by different time spans and territories, positions and subjectivities, they examine how the apparatuses of our societies and cultures are transformed by various forces, including energies of nature, human interest, and abiding beliefs.

Via speculation and imagination, Things Entangling draws our attention to the hidden lives of things and their multifaceted interactions, and explores how reconstructing, animating, or restoring their agency could prompt us to revisit or even reposition ourselves in our current society and environment, facing as we do unprecedented natural and human-made crises. Longing for desirable futures, the artists aim to reveal unexpected intersections, elusive networks, and fleeting affinities between things.

An online video program featuring works by Hikaru Fujii, Kapwani Kiwanga, and The Propeller Group and Superflex from the exhibition, is available to stream at KADIST website until August 7, 2020.