How to face the decease of beloved in life? Australian artist Richard Whiteley gives his answer in an artistic approach. Witnessed the decay of health of his parents and they departed this life, Richard Whiteley had a unique perspective to observe and read their X-ray films, and therein created several latest works accordingly in his solo exhibition, Illuminated Space.
October 13, 2019, the last day before the closure of exhibition, Shanghai Museum of Glass cooperated with Natural Art Festival, World Hospice and Palliative Care Day and Shanghai Women’s Federation, hosted the “Outsider” series event in the Museum Park. Started from the exhibition Illuminated Space and under the mainline of “farewell”, we invited Ms. Marguerite Etemad, an established art-therapist, and Ms. LU Lu, graduate of Drama, Theatre and Dance MA by Research, Royal Holloway, University of London, to lead the participants to experience art through body and farewell depression through dance, in the form of “Planetary Dance”.
At the beginning, the participants gathered on the meadow under the exhibition hall, sensed the birdsong and fresh air, how sunlight crossed the leaves, experienced the surroundings without phones and words. Later, Marguerite and Lu brought the audience a special guide of Illuminated Space – Solo Exhibition by Richard Whiteley. Each participant was asked to appreciate the sculptures in silence, observe the change of light and shadow therein, and remember their feelings at that moment, which would be utilized in the following workshop. After the visiting, the participants came to Rainbow Chapel, learnt the “Life/Art process” art expression therapy and “RSVP Cycles” Creative Processes. Based on their feelings on the Exhibition, the participants were divided into 5 groups to create dance, painting and poem, and to conflate these extemporaneous pieces into a play, under the themes of “universe”, “organic”, “life cycle”, “fate · forgiveness · acceptance” and “Final Destination”.
After the break, Marguerite Etemad taught the “Planetary Dance”, explained its origin, purpose and rule. Under the echoes of drum, the participants started the practice and rehearsal. On the outdoor Art Plaza, the passersby were impressed and joined in the dance. Everyone was dancing for love and peace, and released pressure on the reverse. “Planetary Dance” is a dance with purpose, everyone dance for others rather than himself. With this pray and hope, the participants kept dance as long as possible and extemporaneously based on the basic rules. The mood of happiness was kept rendered and shared, which was not dissipated long after the end of event: encore, selfies, adding on social media, and make a rendezvous for next event – both the relationship between one and others and one and himself has been reconstructed.
This event is the third of the “Outsider” series. In 2019, Shanghai Museum of Glass initiated the art exhibition interpretation focused series event “Outsider”, inviting creative workers from different fields to re-interpret art exhibition from different perspectives. Aiming on the Illuminated Space, for the past two events we invited Dr. YUAN Changgeng, Assistant Prof. of Southern University of Science and Technology, and CHEN Yiyun, Lecturer of College of Design & Innovation, Tongji University, to interpret this exhibition from the angle of medical anthropology and design respectively. Through these diversified events, Shanghai Museum of Glass hopes to present to the audience another way to recognise the world and intrigue a deeper understanding to the art.