Echoes and Signals
Shanshui: Echoes and Signals is a thematic exhibition of works drawn from the M+ Collections that explores the complex connections between landscape and humanity in our post-industrial and increasingly virtual world. Shanshui (‘mountain and water’) is a cultural legacy integral to Chinese philosophical thinking and poetic imagination, and motivates a millennium-old tradition of ink painting across East Asia. Although commonly translated as ‘landscape’, shanshui can take us far beyond observable reality. It manifests invisible resonances—between stillness and motion, vision and imagination, the fleeting immediacy of experience and the persistence of history and memory.
The exhibition reimagines shanshui through sculpture, moving image, sound, design and architecture, and ink painting, searching for signals across contemporary mediums. Exceptional paintings and prints by artists of different generations—such as Yang Jiechang, Xu Bing, Zao Wou-Ki, Wesley Tongson, and Guo Hongwei—demonstrate formal and conceptual experimentations with landscape. The dense telecommunication networks that overlay our physical world are made perceptible as a new kind of landscape through an iconic LED installation by Tatsuo Miyajima, a selection of electronics from M+’s design collection, and major video installations by Liu Chuang, Amar Kanwar, and Nguyen Trinh Thi. Other highlights include a sculpture garden featuring Isamu Noguchi’s galvanised steel sculptures, activated by Vivian Wang’s site-responsive sound installation.
Over the course of its two-year display period, Shanshui: Echoes and Signals will be punctuated by regular rotations of works by major international artists, architects, and moving image makers. A range of curatorial and public programmes, as well as special moving image presentations at M+ Cinema, will expand the speculative thinking and visceral experience of landscapes beyond the galleries.
Image at top: Yang Jiechang. Black & White Mustard Seed Garden (Tale of the 11th Day Series) (detail), 2009–2014. Ink and mineral colour on silk mounted on canvas. M+, Hong Kong. © Yang Jiechang. Image courtesy of the artist and INKstudio