A+ Contemporary is pleased to announce the opening of group exhibition “Elegy: Five Desire Mechanisms of Nostalgia” curated by Liya Han on March 22. This first exhibition in 2019 presents works by five artists: Chen Chen Yu, Feng Shan, Hu Wei, Pixy Liao and Yan Xinyue. The purpose of “elegy” is not to provoke pessimistic emotions, but to observe and respond to the rise and causes of a current fad for nostalgia. Multi-faceted mediums including photography, painting, video, sculpture, installation, and archives are incorporated to construct an exhibition space with multiple timelines. The exhibition will be on view until May 19, 2019.
Nostalgia, as a kind of sentiment tracing the past, does not explicitly direct to any specific space or time. Instead, it points to a chaos of unorganized fragments of past experience, and eventually aggregate to form the variegated collective memory. From a broader cultural point of view, if the history is seen as a spiral loop then nostalgia is an inevitable emotion which often reflects a resurgence of historical thoughts, a turbulent condition of reality and stagnation in cultural development. In this sense, nostalgia is a kind of symbol for narcissism and degeneration. Since the birth of the Internet human civilization is increasingly approaching the next technological singularity. The ethereal illusion that once only appeared in science fictions has been coexisting with us.
Facing the explosive advancement of technology, nostalgia has become an effective way to trace back to one’s own history and to retain and reshape individual or collective cultural identity. It also sharply criticizes the current privileged status of technology in an aspect. The five artists participating in this exhibition turned nostalgia into a creative tool with restorative functions, whether this starts from individual experience or from introspection and anxiousness about the status quo of contemporary culture characterized by “amnesiac”. Imagine when human memory is recorded digitally as fragmented data lost in timeline, where could we place ourselves and what will nostalgia mean to us? This exhibition is presented in an attempt to provide an open-ended answer to these questions.