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Asian Art Museum Blog–Light and Space: Reading Phantoms

On May 22, I brought a friend from Canada to visit the new exhibition in Asian Art Museum.  We attended a docent tour which was fantastic.  I found a few art objects she asked us to interpret fascinating!   This blog from AAM has aptly explained two of these objects–Ancient Modern.




posted 10:36 AM

under Behind the Scenes, Chinese art, Collections, Contemporary Art, Curatorial, Phantoms of Asia

Light and Space: Reading Phantoms

Last week, staff at the museum were fortunate to have guest curator of Phantoms of Asia Mami Kataoka present to us on the themes of the exhibition.

While spirituality is a core part of this show, Mami invited us to approach it from another perspective, saying that we could think of Phantoms as being all about light and space.

Bronze hand mirror, China, Western Han dynasty, (206 BCE - 9 CE)

Bronze hand mirror, China, Western Han dynasty, (206 BCE – 9 CE)

Mami showed us some examples of works from the Light and Space movement that resonate with works in this show. But the most fascinating part for me was a more literal example. Filipino artist Poklong Anading creates arresting photographs by having people hold a small hand mirror in front of their face; a flash of light, reflected by the mirror, obscures the face and transforms the image.  In a piece of curation that strikes me as both whimsical and utterly inspired, also included in the exhibition are some Chinese hand mirrors from the museum’s collection, polished to regain their reflective properties. While the creator of the bronze mirror pictured probably wasn’t thinking about identity and transformation, it is such an object that enabled Anading to create compelling works exploring those themes.

Mami’s reference to light and space has given me a new entry point for thinking about these works. I know next to nothing of Asian contemporary art, but she reminded me that we are free to make our own connections: through time and space, across cultures, and between art and everyday objects. We hope you have the opportunity to do the same.

Poklong Anading, Anomymity series. © Poklong Anading, 2011; Courtesy Galerie Zimmermann Kratochwill, Graz, Austria.

© Poklong Anading, 2011; Courtesy Galerie Zimmermann Kratochwill, Graz, Austria.


via Asian Art Museum Blog.

2 Responses to “Light and Space: Reading Phantoms”

  1. Den  on May 26th, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I have the same feeling. This exhibition has opened up my mind to relate to modern art, more than all other exhibitions. Thanks to the docent who was very inspiring in her tour. I was also fascinated not only by this piece but by the curator who put the ancient mirrors and this modern piece together. Very thought provoking. Love it!

  2. janet  on May 30th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Thank you for the feedback Den. It’s wonderful to hear that this exhibition is inspiring for our visitors as well as for us!


via Asian Art Museum Blog.


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This entry was posted on May 28, 2012 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , .


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