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Can storytelling from the margins lead to recollection of a nation’s shared identity? Who decides what knowledge is worth preserving when it comes to transmitting it? What does fossil-fuel extractivism have to do with lost books and archives? These are among the questions that drive artist and writer Shubigi Rao‘s first solo exhibition in China: “These Petrified Paths.“
Known for her ten-year projects that manifest in film, books, drawing, photographs, etchings, and installations with discarded items and archives, Shubigi Rao considers both present-day and historical subjects, offering alternate viewpoints on contemporary displacement—be it of peoples, languages, cultures, or realms of knowledge. Her work is a poetic, incisive critique of the western knowledge system and the problematic narrative about civilizations.
This exhibition at the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai unfolds in four galleries; each refers to a specific term that echoes recurrently in Rao’s oeuvre: the “subterranean,“ the “sacred space,“ the “margins,“ and the “action.“ She has created phylogenetic “trees of knowledge” in the form of a large, three dimensional energy pylon, 12 meters in height, punctuating the heart of the exhibition. The term phylogenic trees refers to a graphic representation of lines of genetic descent.
Lines of transmission of energy, knowledge, story-telling, and power are seen branching across the gallery. By highlighting the veiled transmission of memories, experiences and knowledge, These Petrified Paths is a call to action to celebrate different forms of knowledge and to learn, From the marginsHow to evolve out from destruction, death, loss and entropy.
Also at the nexus These Petrified Paths is a newly commissioned feature-length film of the same title. Filmed during the war in Armenia in spring and September 2022. These Petrified Paths weaves tales and recollections of local communities into an enthralling narrative interlaced with memory, written and spoken word, dialogue, terrain, and everyday existence. It poetically delves into Armenia‘s enduring cultural relics, battles, and fragmented literary richness under duress. As Armenia struggles with the aftermaths of conflict, women are emerging as librarians and chroniclers, and they are revealing more than just books. These subtle stories show the often behind-the scenes but monumental efforts of restoration experts and guides, translators, advocates, archivists and advocates in times of crisis.
The following are some of the most effective ways to improve your own effectiveness. Rockbund Art Museum Shanghai
Until February 25, 2024