Haroon Mirza's solo exhibition of light and sound installations opens this week at Sifang Art Museum, Nanjing
6 June 2019Haroon Mirza's first solo exhibition in China, ‘Tones in the key of electricity’, opens on Saturday 8 June across the entire space of the Sifang Art Museum in Nanjing, China. Using electronic sound and light installations as a means of challenging and widening perception, the exhibition explores notions of the copy, artistic identity, constructs of value, and how the meanings of these vary across Eastern and Western cultures.
Particular reference is made to the Chinese concept of ‘fuzhipin’, the first main theme of the exhibition. The phrase describes an exact copy of an original that retains an equivalent value, defying any hierarchy that may be perceived in more Western ways of thinking. Several site specific works, such as Copy of 9/11-11/9 (2019), occupy Sifang as second versions of previous works produced by Mirza, rebuilt with reference to the originals and using materials and equipment sourced locally in China. These works highlight the realities of outsourcing production to China, which according to the UN is the origin of almost 65% of all counterfeit goods seized globally, and bring to attention the double-standards of the fashion industry.
The second focal point of the exhibition is the word ‘tone’, made clear as well in this iteration of Copy of 9/11-11/9. Aside from simply conveying emotion in speech, tone can often produce entirely alternate meanings to words or phrases in Asian, Pacific and African dialects. The work’s installation, comprised of four video screens and 8 sound channels spread out throughout Sifang, uses the buildings’ architecture to allow for different experiences of the sounds it produces, depending on visitors’ positions.
'Tones in the Key of Electricity' runs until 8 December 2019, and is curated by Victor Wang. Wang is the guest curator of Lisson Gallery's summer show in London, 'Afterimage: Dangdai Yishu'.
Image: Installation view of 9/11-11/9 (2017) at Lisson Gallery, New York © Haroon Mirza