Rolls-Royce promotes art in Shanghai

The carmaker has brought American artist Asad Raza’s work 'Root sequence. Mother tongue', to China’s cultural capital.

British luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce has entered into a benefactor relationship with Rockbund Art Museum (RAM), Shanghai. As part of this arrangement, it has brought American artist Asad Raza’s work Root sequence. Mother tongue, to China’s cultural capital. The installation formed part of RAM HIGHLIGHT 2017: DISPLACE, a project designed to transform the museum into a boundary-breaking experimental space, fostering a diverse yet open viewing experience. The installation marked the Chinese debut of the work, which was first shown at this year’s Whitney Biennial in New York.

Root sequence. Mother tongue brought the forest — a space of myth and fairy tales — into the museum. The installation included 26 trees planted in soil-filled wooden boxes and local Chinese people who acted as “caretakers” for the trees— which collectively, the artist describes as characters, individual inhabitants in a living network.

Each tree was grown locally, and their continuing growth throughout the installation formed part of the exhibition, alongside the improvised interaction of the caretakers, who had the option to move the trees as part of their performance. Strategically-placed ultraviolet lights encouraged the trees’ photosynthesis throughout the installation, while casting a pink hue over the proceedings.

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