At Prada Rong Zhai In Shanghai

Rear Windows

Prada presents “Rear Windows”, a new exhibition project by artist Li Qing, with the support of Fondazione Prada. Curated by Jérôme Sans, the show runs from 7 November 2019 to 19 January 2020 in the premises of Prada Rong Zhai, a 1918 historical residence in Shanghai restored by Prada and reopened in October 2017.

“Rear Windows” is an immersive and collaborative project conceived on site by the artist Li Qing and the curator as a specific storyboard, an in-depth exploration of the history and the space of Prada Rong Zhai, creating a connection between the past times and the current urban environment of Shanghai.

Inspiration

 “Rear Windows”, inspired by the eponymous 1954 movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is devised as a succession of climatic scenes to experience the act of seeing and of being seen or observed. Through some of his emblematic works like Neighbor’s Window and Tetris Window series, Li Qing suggests references to the city of Shanghai (or even Hangzhou, where the artist lives), where old and new buildings, different social groups, urban myths, legends and expectations coexist.

Prada Rong Zhai

Prada Rong Zhai can be considered as a palimpsest of Shanghai’s century-old history. Before being restored to become a place dedicated to cultural activities, the building was the private residence of the entrepreneur, Mr Rong Zongjing, and then a public property after socialization. Li Qing imagines the building as a space still used by its residents or their contemporary ghosts. The artist recreates imaginary visions of key rooms, like the ballroom, the bedroom, the bathroom, and a karaoke room, where the presence of the former inhabitants is suggested through artistic gestures. The decision of re-occupying the vacant spaces generates a strange and cinematographic atmosphere, evoking the duality of our present lives, divided between authenticity and imitation, reality and reproduction.