Memory Goes As Far As This Morning
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chengdu, China
23rd Sept  — 8th Nov 2016

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Beginning September 23rd, 2016, Chengdu MOCA is pleased to present the exhibition ‘Memory goes as far as this morning’, with two established artists of different backgrounds: Gideon Rubin (Israel / UK) and Shu Qun (China).

The title of this exhibition, quoted from a poem by the noted Chinese poet Bei Dao, alludes to the disposable nature of 'news': The nation has lost its memory / Memory goes as far as this morning. Memory and history are universal themes, explored by artists throughout time. In this exhibition in Chengdu, both artists filter history and memories, each from his own unique perspective, while the audience is invited to revisit their own past experiences. The convergence of memory and history are of major interest and concern to Rubin, their nature and the thin line between the personal and the general constituting keys to his narrative.

The curatorial task in “Memory goes as far as this morning” has been to bring the two artists with their contrasting backgrounds into dialogue on this particular subject, prompting the audience to relate to themes like ‘taboo’, ‘erasure’ and ‘disappearance’, through the artists’ portraiture and their use of mass-media source material.

The works in this exhibition seem to drag the past into the present-time, securing imagery from memories and from history while reinterpreting and translating it. A maze of portraits and facial expressions in the case of Shu, and the erasure of facial features in the case of Rubin, make up a unique visual trove reflecting personal memories, identities and cultural histories. Off-base and in dialogue with Shu Qun who is working on home territory, the museum show in Chengdu presents for Rubin a unique opportunity to engage with a new audience in China, and this, particularly as both artists have shared common source material - using Hua Bao (a period Chinese picture magazine), in Rubin’s case in response to his exposure to Chinese culture and history during a two-month residency in Shenzhen in 2014.

Year by year, month by month, the plight of our fragmentary and precarious civilization becomes more serious. Fascism abroad grows more bold and ruthless in its foreign ventures, more tyrannical toward its own citizens, more barbarian in its contempt for the life of the mind. Even in our own country, we have reason to fear a tendency toward militarization and the curtailment of civil liberty.