The Natural Path

1  A Brief Introduction To The Exhibition

1.1 Role 

I worked as a curator in the planning of this exhibition, focusing on the innovation of display strategy and the combination of art and technology.  

1.2 Subject Matter

The working motif of the group exhibition she is going to curate is called “The Natural Path”,which has a particular concentration on contemporary fiber art. It is inviting three internationally renowned artists: Liang Shaoji (China), Lesley Richmond (Britain), and Vanessa Barragao (Portugal). Their work descriptions are listed at the end of this proposal.

1.3 Timetable

The anticipated time for mounting this exhibition will be in March 2022, lasting for at least six months that cover summer, winter, and national holidays. 

1.4 Venues

The first stop of “The Natural Path” will be at the Guangdong Maritime Silk Road Museum located in southern China. It will be also possible for those organizations or institutes that officially belong to the International Alliance of Museum of the Silk Road (IAMS) to get involved as well, such as the National Museum Of Myanmar, the National Museumof Serbia, and so forth.

2. Curatorial Rationale And Contexts: Policy And Post-Industrialism Of Chinese Art

Significantly, one of the objectivities of this the exhibition is to encourage audiences to envision a new perspective to think about fiber art under the circumstance of “the Belt and Road Initiative”, which is a Chinese economic policy to not only geographically revitalize the ancient “Silk Road” of commerce in a pan-Asian circle, but also to discover more cultural and artistic heritages.  

According to Hans Ulrich Obrist, “ecology will be (situated) at the heart of everything that we do”, and he has asserted twice on top art media earlier in 2020. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that

ecological art nowadays has gained a critically important status amongst all curatorial issues at present. China has undergone industrial pollution and destruction for a long time, the curator believes that after the global-wide“energetic cleansing” of the living environment since 2020, it is the time for Chinese and another developing country to seriously consider ecology and sustainability. Art exhibitions on relevant topics mounted in non-profit and large organizations can be more effective for pedagogy. 

 Compared with other installation, works of fiber art hasstronger extensibility in terms of materiality. They can be easily integrated into any space. Fiber art is a unique expression of ecological art, also

echoing metaphorically to the “Silk Road” (as this historical name implies,“silk” was the most luxurious and common good for trading or communicating between East and West thousands of years ago).

3. Curatorial Methodology: Intervention Of Virtual Reality And Oculus Quest

Due to the current situation of COVID-19 and the increasing demand for interaction between viewers and artworks, this exhibition is divided into two parts: online VR experience and offline exhibition. The online part digitalizes the selected fiber works and will be launched in association with Oculus Quest. With the assistance of Oculus Quest, audiences can sense or even “touch” dedicate and fragile materials of fiber art in the virtual space. When the audience “touch” the texture, there is no need to worry about any possible physical damage to the artworks as they are in terms of object conservation. 

The usage of VR as a method for online display can not only display fiber art but also perfectly preserve fiber art for a long time, replacing the basic functions of traditional display cabinets, creating a new media form of curiosity cabinet display form. Turn the exhibition site into a VR space. And online exhibitions can save a lot of transportation and storage costs, especially fragile fiber art in the process of transportation will incur large costs.

4. Curatorial Event 

Curator Lucia Pietroiusti, curator Hans Ulrich Obrist,artist Olafur Eliasson, artist Gérard Mermoz are the Key Opinion Leaders (KOL)of ecological curating and art. They will get priorities to experience VR online viewing. Live streaming on their technology-led innovative exploration will be broadcasted internationally, and this process will be arranged as a preliminary promotion to educate the market: to attract more audiences to pay attention to this exhibition, to fiber art, and ecological curating. 

The sustainable fashion brand from Inner Mongolia ERDOS is invited to be the title sponsor of this exhibition. Also, Oculus Quest is invited to cooperate with ERDOS, and launch a paid one-day workshop during the exhibition period: students will use scrap provided by ERDOS cashmere fabric as a recycled material to design new cashmere products. This educational event aims to cultivate the eco-friendly awareness of the general public.

5. Work Description (Literature Only)

Three artists were invited to the exhibition, including a Chinese male artist Liang Shaoji’s works “Stele” and “Remaining Mountains and Waters”, a British female artist Lesley Richmond’s “Woodland” and a Portuguese female artist Vanessa Barragao “Coral Garden”.

The work “Stele” is an image related to silkworm created by Liang Shaoji from 2008 to 2014. This is an exploration of the tipping point of multimedia and fiber art. The exhibition of fiber art is bound to be relevant in transportation and preservation. The work itself causes a kind of destruction. This work proposes an ideal direction for the development of fiber art. 

The sculpture installation “Remaining Mountains and Waters” made of silk, silkworm eggs, silkworm, silkworm pupa, and silkworm yarn. The artist used the most natural and primitive objects to create vicissitudes of life landscape scroll, even leaving silkworm excrement in a natural form on the silk foil. At the same time, it also implies the destruction of the ecology caused by various ecological disasters caused by man. Provide the audience with thinking about the ecological environment. 

“Woodland”, Lesley Richmond uses materials such as KOZO bark fiber and ink to create a real wood feeling through screen printing, collage, painting, and perforation. People living in cities see the close combination of crafts and fine arts, so the realistic output. The forest scenes have a yearning for real ecology. Vanessa Barragao’s “Coral Garden” works rely on the existence of space. The artist uses different waste fabrics to create a new coral garden, which directly points out the pollution of the textile industry to the ocean. The artist uses a gentle way to guide people to live in harmony with nature.