Prada’s Innovative Exploration: “Paraventi:屏” at Rong Zhai

October 19, 2023


In a significant announcement on 18 October 2023, Prada unveiled its plans for the groundbreaking exhibition "Paraventi:屏." Set to run from 3 November 2023 to 21 January 2024 at the iconic Prada Rong Zhai in Shanghai, this exhibition represents a fusion of historic artistry and modern digital interpretation, brilliantly spotlighting Prada's commitment to both innovation and heritage.

Keiichi Tanaami
Red Shade
Digital animation, 6 min 44 sec © Keiichi Tanaami
Courtesy of Nanzuka

Exploring Liminal Spaces: The Art of Folding Screens

Drawing inspiration from its Milanese counterpart that focuses on the history of folding screens, this exhibition delves into the transformative journey of these artifacts. From their initial utilitarian roles to evolving as symbolic bridges connecting diverse cultures and states of being, folding screens have served as gateways to new worlds, both literal and metaphorical.

Terutada Shikibu
Plum, Bamboo and Mynah Bird
The six-panel folding screen, Late Muromachi Period (16th century) Courtesy of London Gallery, Tokyo

Digital Reflections: The Contemporary Screen Experience

Venturing into the intricate territory of digital influences on classical art, the exhibition showcases pieces that echo today's paradoxical screen interactions. For instance, one artwork seamlessly merges traditional motifs with augmented reality, underscoring the dichotomy of visibility versus obscurity and depth versus superficiality in our digital age.

Keiichi Tanaami
Red Shade
Digital animation, 6 min 44 sec © Keiichi Tanaami
Courtesy of Nanzuka

Artistic Interpretations: Modern Takes on Classic Forms

Internationally renowned artists infuse the exhibition with a contemporary spirit. Tony Cokes’ piece, "Untitled (Sol Lewitt 1967 / 1968 / 1989)," is a reimagination of minimalism, presenting an immersive blend of sculpture-like structures, vibrant LED displays, and the atmospheric sounds of the influential shoegaze band, My Bloody Valentine.

Cao Fei
Screen Autobiography (Shanghai)
Multi-media installation (combination of videos, smartphones, green screens, self-timer lamps, furniture, photographic tripods, ect.)
Size: Variable dimensions
Music: Zafka. Acknowledgement - Video Production
Participants: Er Gao (He Qiwo), Zhang Dianling, Liu Qingyu, Pan Xiong, Ai Kuo, Sa Na, Gao Qizhen, Chen Xin, Madelin Cheng, Shen Jinghao, Zhao Mengyao, He Peijia
Courtesy of the artist, Vitamin Creative Space and Sprüth Magers

"Screen-screen" by John Stezaker weaves a tapestry of cinematic nostalgia, juxtaposing idealized Hollywood imagery against tangible backdrops, emphasizing the interplay between physical reality and fictional illusions. Meanwhile, Shuang Li's "This Mirror Isn't Big Enough For The Two Of Us" projects the tenderness of human connections in a world overshadowed by digital dominance, with evocative shadow play spotlighting the significance of real-world interactions.

Table Screen with inlay
late Ming-early Qing / 16 - 17th century Black lacquer, wood, 44.3 x 40.5 x 22.5 cm Xiao Gu Shan Guan Collection, Beijing

Beyond Artistry: A Commentary on the Digital Age

"Paraventi:屏" is not merely an exhibition; it's a profound reflection on our relationship with digital screens in today's world. The curated pieces question the roles screens play in our lives, shedding light on how they both reveal and hide, connect and isolate. This thoughtful interplay between the past and present urges viewers to reconsider humanity's evolving bond with screens, hinting at a future where such interactions might redefine societal norms and human relationships.

12 leaf imperial zitan wood screen
18th century
Zitan wood, 173.2 x 470.2 x 2.7 cm Xiao Gu Shan Guan Collection, Beijing

A Convergence of Worlds: Anticipating the Exhibition

As global excitement for this pioneering exhibition grows, "Paraventi:屏" promises an insightful journey that melds the wisdom of traditional art with the possibilities of digital exploration. Readers and art enthusiasts worldwide are invited to experience this melding of worlds, either in person or through virtual offerings soon to be announced.