Contemporary Asian Artists Envision the Past, Present, and Future in ‘Temporal Turn’

An international exhibition at the Spencer Museum of Art spans the cultural diversity of Asia and speculates on varied manifestations of time, history, and memory.

Konoike Tomoko, “Donning Animal Skins and Braided Grass,” 2011, Courtesy of the artist and Volcanoise, Tokyo, Japan

The Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas presents Temporal Turn: Art & Speculation in Contemporary Asia, an exhibition exploring ideas about time and history from more than 20 contemporary Asian artists.

Through five inter-related themes, the artwork in Temporal Turn bridges speculation on the past, present, and future with real-world debates about issues such as gender identity, climate change, and globalization. “Pulse” presents artwork that investigates biological systems such as physiology and evolution. “The Edge of Infinity” examines the role of mathematics, astronomy, and space exploration. “Mythopoeia” explores historical and mythical fictions grounded in culturally specific perspectives. “Human/Posthuman/Inhuman” ranges from predictions about the next step in human evolution to extraterrestrial life. The final theme, “Anthropocene,” contemplates how humans are transforming nature on a planetary scale.

In addition to works from the Spencer Museum’s collection and international loans, Temporal Turn features four site-specific works commissioned exclusively for the exhibition. Japanese artist Konoike Tomoko created a mythical map of Kansas on stitched cowhide. Rohini Devasher, from New Delhi, drew an expansive wall mural of a star chart with projected video elements. Seoul-based artist Park Jaeyoung installed an interactive laboratory for a mad scientist studying a mythical creature. Sahej Rahal, from Mumbai, created monumental relics from the future made of recycled materials.

Temporal Turn is on view through March 12, 2017, at the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, Kansas.

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Elizabeth Kanost
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