Following the success of Time Travel, an immersive visual experience, which brought audiences back to a 1980s era subway station, JPS Gallery is pleased to present Museum Belowground. The new exhibition, in collaboration with BELOWGROUND, takes inspiration from one of the most well-known universal museums in the world, the British Museum, reimagined as an encyclopedic version fusing the worlds of street, pop, and contemporary art, presenting the Enlightenment Period from a modern perspective.
On view at the BELOWGROUND exhibition space in LANDMARK ATRIUM, the exhibition features sixteen artists working together to present a distinct group of artworks, artifacts and cultural items from around the world in contemporary and novel interpretations: Afa Annfa, August Vilella, Barminski, b.wing, Chino Lam, Elaine Chiu, Horihiro Mitomo, Jorge Mejía, Karla Pereira, Okokume, Okrabelo, Paul Hunter Speagle, Prodip Leung, Pure Evil, Qin Tan, and Yamanyamo.
The recreated display encapsulates the spirit of a universal museum, while injecting new energy in the museum displays, artifacts and cultural relics, building an alternate reality where the works and their biographies are completely different from what we see in art institutions today.
The exhibition invites the audience to explore various sections. Set in the center is a modern recreation of Moai statue from Rapa Nui (Easter Island) with the signature ‘tear drip’ of street and contemporary artist Pure Evil. The Contemporary Art section displays a wide range of works from local and international artists, hung together in a collage of paintings, both complimenting and juxtaposing one another. In the Ancient Art section, Hong Kong artist Prodip Leung’s Sphinx on the Mars serves as a manifestation of the artist’s interest and exploration of existence of the extraterrestrial beings. Prodip’s work incorporates the elements of the ancient civilizations and lives from outer space.
Another major highlight is the recreation of a museum store by Barminski’s studio – the Barminski Art Store – a life-size paper sculpture installation. The distinctive and visually engaging space brings to light everyday objects repackaged and repurposed forcing the audience to interact with the pieces in a different manner. Even the security guard is a performance artist in disguise, creating another visual and emotional element at Museum Belowground.
The exhibition also features an augmented reality (AR) piece presented by award-winning Hong Kong production house Yamanyamo with Prodip Leung. Through scanning a QR code, an interactive mobile application can be launched on smartphones, accessing a hidden feature of Sphinx on the Mars. Wrapping the show is an immersive video and sound installation by Qin Tan, a piece which explores the search for identity while raising questions surrounding the concepts of 'authenticity' and ‘falsehood’.
Staying true to the rebellious attitude of street art and urban culture, Museum Belowground challenges the canonical art conventions and museum display methods, pushing boundaries and reworking traditions.