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Exhibition

Curtain

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Key takeaways

1. A curatorial presentation of existing and newly commissioned works as well as site-specific interventions by 24 artists

2. The ‘curtain’ is a mutable concept used to contemplate questions of visibility and invisibility related to surveillance, forgotten histories, and geopolitical delineations

From the mundane materiality of the curtain as a domestic object and its scenographic functions in various cultural contexts, Curtain makes artistic and conceptual references to passages, frontiers, separations, connections, occupations, circulations, and localities. Presented across two venues, at Para Site’s home and at a temporary site in Hong Kong, Curtain includes existing and newly commissioned works as well as site-specific interventions by 24 artists. Conceived as a framework to disrupt our usual habits of consuming visual culture, the exhibition also activates the viewer’s senses through acts of crawling into, lifting, peeking through, being guided by smell and sound, or that of reading, writing, and feeling a space. Furthermore, the fluid concept of ‘curtain’ is a device not only to trigger the beginning or end of a spectacle, but also a way to frame the subtle interactions and intimacies of the body as it passes through social and political representations.

A domestic object as well as technological screen, a ‘curtain’ is used to facilitate or cloak the dissemination of information: from newspapers, photographic documents, to mass-manufactured moving-images; from solid walls to fluid boundaries; from light to shadow. It also acts as a fabric that shifts the divide between one’s personal and public personas. The ‘curtain’ is a mutable concept used to contemplate questions of visibility and invisibility related to surveillance, forgotten histories, and geopolitical delineations. Its existence reveals displacements in language and material conditions in contemporary life that reflect changes in archival, social, and technological structures today. Furthermore, the exhibition looks to raise awareness of alternative models as well as smaller-scale ecologies situated at the periphery of power structures dominating the façade of public everyday experiences. Curtain is a collective contemplation towards an understanding of how these realities are framed in connection with questions of obscurity and permeability, shedding light on different methodologies that enable us to circumnavigate, perform, and disrupt with new counterstrategies on the stage of an exhibition. For the practitioners featured in Curtain, each work represents a retracing of memories or a path into the future, with the desire to influence informational infrastructures that govern or haunt a post-COVID-19 pandemic world.