>UNKNOWN

Zendai Contemporary Art Exhibition Hall, Shanghai, December 2010 – January 2011
Co-curated by Li Xiaofei and Alessandra Sandrolini

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Within his artistic body of work, Per Hüttner engages in an aesthetic and existential quest for personal freedom. To pursue this liberation, he looks for ways to renegotiate the relationships between the individual and the collective, in the social, political and spiritual spheres, and to push further the boundaries of human experience and knowledge.

For this sculptural installation is inspired by the writings of Henri Bergson and Chuang Tzu, the artist creates a liquid space where moving images and a select number of objects become a part of a complex system of interconnected ideas.

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Four videos form the hub of the exhibition and show mysterious rituals enacted by various characters. The films reveal an intimate and sensual love for the secret knowledge hidden in nature and culture. The characters are engaged in the poetic act of eating books or fruits of peculiar flowers. Even though they are acted by different actors, it seems that we pry into the life of the same human subject. The images show mundane situations that have been shifted ever so slight to reveal the vastness of the unknown in our everyday experience. Simply and wisely, the artist invites the viewer to break the subtle frame of reality and limited illusion and to embrace the unknown.

Two cobblestones are presented in the exhibition. They are central cells of the exhibition’s brain, but these typical props of revolution and construction are each closed in a glass-case, suggesting a museological connection. This is further underlined by another glass case with a half full glass of water. Hüttner’s work engages in an intellectual and cognitive search of the complex relationship between the political, the social and the aesthetic of the revolutionary process and deconstructs a monolithic vision of reality. Instead of a binary system of thinking, opposing order to disorder, life to death, before and after, repression and liberation, Per Hüttner develops Bergson’s idea that complexity and possibility are not just a pre-condition of creation, but exist as permanent truths. The artist reveals affinities between the French thinker and the ancient Chinese philosopher, Chuang Tzu, who says that our life has a boundary but there is no boundary to knowledge; to use what has a boundary and to pursue what is limitless is dangerous.