Zhi Art Museum is presenting the exhibition Open, celebrating the long-awaited official inauguration of the museum which marks a new cultural signpost in southwest China. Curated by Zhang Ga and co-presented by Zhi Art Museum and Chronus Art Center (CAC), the exhibition will remain on view through August 12, 2018.

Located about 40 km from the capital city of Sichuan province in the Xin Jin region, Zhi Art Museum is designed by the renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. The museum employs brick tiles, a traditional local material, as the building motif to seamlessly blend modernist austerity with the undulating mountains and rivers of the surrounding area which are reminiscent of Chinese classic landscape paintings in the literati tradition. Resonating with the museum’s architecture and illuminating ZHI’s mission statement, the exhibition Open brings to the public a highly idiosyncratic body of work by nine international artists that accentuate open as a form of initiation, a movement in which a new start gathers force and an unfolding which unleashes the force of potentiality. It evokes opening as an event that gets off the ground the pioneering undertaking Zhi Art Museum aspires to accomplish.

The monumental installation Pneuma Fountain in front of the museum is Chico MacMurtrie/Amorphic Robot Works’ most recent inflatable robotic sculpture, which manifestly captures and anticipates the unfolding theme of open as a contemplative experience of movement, air, light and architecture.

 Entering the museum’s main gallery on the lower level, one is first encountered by Zhang Peili’s enigmatic work titled A Standard, Uplifting, and Distinctive Circle along with Its Sound System. Participation in Zhang’s Duchampian installation is delegated to an automata operated though software manipulation. An ambiguity is thus insinuated to invite open-ended construction of meaning and signification. Marnix de Nijs’ Rectilinear Displacement plunges us into a visceral journey of reflection in movement: immersion by its physicality and light in its optical materiality. Winding down to the unnoticeably infinitesimal, Michael Joaquin Grey’s BetweenSimonetta updates Botticelli’s famous profile of the woman gradually. Motion and chance assume the ultimate impetus of openness.

To open is also to make ready for adventure, to lose orientation in order to obtain cognition of a different dimension. Compass 02005 by Lawrence Malstaf is precisely such an uncanny apparatus that exercises its own machine logic on the participant. Perhaps here a power play is at work to tease out the conundrum of the human-machine interaction that questions the popular assumption and begs for an ethical reappraisal.

Ascending to the upper lever of the museum is a brightened gallery space that is home to four works that resonate with each other and blend into the outdoor scenery visible through the openness of the large glass walls. In Wang Gongxing’s Unseatable, stillnessgives substance of mobility, radiance and liquid enact a form of opening, a way of extension. Carsten Nicolai with his reflektordistortionseems to alert us that in the beauty of algorithmic logic is an open terrain in which uncertainty and chance speak the essence of the technological real. In sharp contrast with Nicolai’s installation, Mariko Mori’s meditative bed of rocks in various sizes and shapes evokes an imaginary river bank which, in its crude innocence, speaks back to the contemporary pandemonium and anxiety to open up a new prospect of the world to comprehend. Wang Yuyang’s Plato’s Cubes further pronounces the open as an unfolding, an perpetual iteration, a never ending transformation and a spirit that embraces the unknown, the unpredictable, and the potential as the essence of Zhi, that is, to know.