The Painted Screen: An Exhibition About an Exhibition
With only three groups of works, this small show reflects on and conceptualizes “The Painted Screen: Past and Future,” a much larger show that just took place in the Suzhou Museum, and thus can be considered “an exhibition about an exhibition.”
One of the three works is The Double Screen attributed to the 10th-century painter Zhou Wenju, shown here in a lightbox because the original work cannot leave the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C. In the painting, four men are playing chess in front of a standing screen, which displays the images of several women attending on a man reclining on a bed in the inner chamber. A landscape screen appears behind this second group of figures, presenting another “painting within a painting” deep inside the picture.
The gendered spaces in The Double Screen are expanded and individualized by the two contemporary works in this exhibition, one by a male artist and one by a female artist. Song Dong’s The Door and Window Screen utilizes abandoned materials from demolished residential housing, creating layers of illusionistic spaces. Peng Wei’s three works come from her painting series The Seven Nights. The white, screen-like surfaces display dream scenes, inviting the audience to decipher and imagine the implied narrative.
Wu Hung (curator)