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July 17, 2018

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Exploring mystery of the ‘Mythical Forest’

“IN the Mythical Forest” is a blend of ancient mythology, historical relics and contemporary artwork created by Chinese artists Wu Jian’an and Wang Tianwen.

Currently underway at the Aurora Museum through October 7, the exhibition aims to promote the study of ancient artifacts from four perspectives — material, technique, form and pattern.

Since his first exhibition in 2006, Wu has established himself as a special figure in contemporary Chinese art with his distinctive paper-cut creations.

In most of his works, Wu uses traditional Chinese paper-cut as his primary means of expression, paired alongside with unconventional materials such as oxide, brass and stainless steel.

Wang Tianwen, from Shaanxi Province, is a master of shadow puppet carving, a traditional craft on the national intangible cultural heritage list. He is a key figure who inherited the unique technique.

Starting off at 12 years old as an apprentice to Li Zhanwen, a shadow puppet master in China in the 1960s, Wang now devotes most of his time to collecting and reproducing lost puppet designs, as well as repairing old puppets.

In a sense, the “Mythical Forest” is a mysterious land of the unknown where spirits, forces of nature and man dwell, as well as an imagined space of synchronicity where the past, present and future coexist. The boundary between different works is blurred.

Fascinated with the ancient and mystical works rooted in dreams and legends, visitors can feel a lively energy behind the folk art through the artists’ reinterpretation — which is also the core of the “mythical forest.”

The exhibition also has a designated area under the theme of “The Birth of Conquering the Fiery Dragon,” intending to cast light on the old tradition of puppet making and behind-the-scenes story of shadow play to give visitors more insight into the intangible nature of Chinese national cultural heritage.


Date: Through October 7 (closed on Mondays), 10am-5pm

Tickets: 20 yuan (free entry with the permanent exhibition ticket)

Venue: Chandelier Hall, 2/F, Aurora Museum

Address: 99 Fucheng Rd, Pudong New Area


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