In murky times of crisis in history, there are always individuals turning to Spiritualism in search of revelation from a mystical world. This search is unique in different media of different times. Bringing his research and practice in contemporary art for many years, curator and writer Boliang SHEN will share major intersections between Spiritualism and art from the beginning of the 20th century to the present, including the impact of Spiritualism on abstract art and Surrealism in the early 20th century, the variations of Spiritualism in times of significant social transformation of China in the 20th century, and a global resurgence of Spiritualism in contemporary art exhibitions since the outbreak of COVID-19.
Shen recently curated the cover story “The Return of Mysticism: The Shift of Art in the Age of Crisis” for the October 2021 issue of The Art Newspaper China, his editorial for which can be read HERE, and his related interview with Yin-Ju Chen (December 2021) can be read HERE.
Following the lecture, historian JIAO Yupeng will respond and moderate the discussion. Jiao's recent research on new religions in modern China also examines the emergence of new spiritualism, especially the Shanghai Spiritualist Society, in the global context of new occultism and spiritual revival. By studying modern spiritualism, he aims to redefine “secularization” in the context of modern Chinese history.
Chinese (with simultaneous interpretation in English)
Registration is required. Registration closes at 17:00 (UTC +8) on 20 May.
The exhibition Close Your Eyes and You Will Know and related events are presented as the second season of the ICA’s second biennial artist research program, Another Knowledge Is Possible (2021-23), exploring neglected and repressed ways of knowing and the complex politics of knowledge decolonization.