EMPORIUM - A New Common Sense of Space

Event  |  Reviews  |  Comments
EMPORIUM - A New Common Sense of Space
Curated by: Beatrice Leanza

November 5th, 2009 - December 8th, 2009
Opening: November 4th, 2009 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Nomura Cultural Foundation
design, architecture, sound, Art, mixed-media, photography, installation, video-art, performance, sculpture


Presented for the first time in Milan, the exhibition Emporium - A New Common Sense of Space features the works of 27 artists from China, Japan and South Korea by framing a critical analysis of the materials, places and processes of representation shaping specific uses and interpretations of the ‘contemporary’.

The different material, sonic, architectural and performative explorations here presented intend to encourage both an historical and aesthetic understanding of the social, urban and technological phenomena informing the present of specific cultural regions, and the way they outline a form of radically open, polycentric sense of internationalism.

EMPORIUM draws itself onto a cultural territory that defies notions of regionalism and nation-based entitlements, by privileging instead the impression of a mobile, productively unstable experience of identity, which signals the emergence of aesthetic strategies and subjective orders of yet specific cultural provenience.

The exhibition therefore sets forth an investigation of multidisciplinary artistic practices which implicate new formal and conceptual relationships with the space of the contemporary and the habitat of the everyday, by introducing a heterogeneous group of artists, art collectives and independently-run art spaces with backgrounds in art, design, music and architecture.

The projects included in this exhibition manifest an intrinsic connection with the spatial and social conventions of their original contexts, and intend to provide an understanding of the way younger generations are formulating new ways to deal with the space of art and social action by assuming a position of open, dynamic marginality.

The tentative, incomplete quality of these, for the large part, installation-based works (featuring photography, video, drawing, architectural interventions, publications, performances, sculpture) comes into being as a product of intimate negotiation and continuous readjustment with the immediate environment and its social implications by forging aesthetic assemblages that subtend re-invented symbolisms and meanings for the contemporary. The aesthetic order framed within this exhibition inhabits the episodic nature of reality by reconnecting to its fragmented, scattered, precarious objects via subtle strategies of self-design, where fragile materials of everyday use and familiar forms are reassembled into new spatial relationships.

The abandoned, discarded and cheap materials which are often employed in these works are recollected and brought into new relations of force, so to expand the field of vision beyond their contingent materiality. In this sense the relationship kindled between the viewer and the work is ever reformulated onto an ambiguous, non-deterministic territory, where consciousness and recognition are negated a manifest environment and rather accommodated in an unstable, non-representational space enforced by a rhetoric of the unexpressed.

The term Emporium, which literally translates as “a city of travelling goods and people”, is here employed as an allusive expression for the visual ramifications of the different works exhibited, the mundane and functional quality of their stylistic languages and materials, as well as the explicit cultural interconnections among the geographical realities represented. More ambiguously, it plays with the “exhibition” intended as a discursive model foregrounding a certain ‘ordering of experience’, and its self-implications with the economics of global art (delocalization, differentiation, spectacle, etc).

Developed by Milan-based dotdotdot ( in collaboration with the curator, the special exhibition design for EMPORIUM orchestrates the works in a graded environment of platforms, bights and staircases, deployed as architectural reminiscences of ancient ports and voyages stretched between permanence and repetition. The newly commissioned and site-specific works by Doojin Ahn, Naihan Li, Megumi Matsubara, Satoshi Hashimoto and Yotaro Niwa are juxtaposed in site of the show so to create zones of pause and flight.

Two performances – Moon Shadow, by Satoshi Hashimoto and Homeshop Hawking by Elaine W. Ho - will be presented for the first 2 days of the show during the museum opening hours. Played out in the transiting area leading to, and inside, the exhibition room, both performances intervene in the processes of observation and participation grounding the relationship between spectacle and audience, subject and object, by subverting their consumptive orders. The relevant installations will be on view for the entire duration of the show.

Among others, alternative artistic collectives/spaces based in China (Homeshop, Arrow Factory) have been invited to contribute to the exhibition, as they themselves emplace critical action ‘spaces’ which enter into a specific material relation of use with the place of the local.

A 130 pages catalogue accompanies the show, with texts by the curator and the artists, images of all the works, drawings and pictures of the site-specific installations included.

ArtSlant has shutdown. The website is currently running in a view-only mode to allow archiving of the content.

The website will be permanently closed shortly, so please retrieve any content you wish to save.