“The artists in One Hand Clapping explore our changing relationship with the future. Produced in both new and traditional mediums—from virtual reality technology to oil on canvas—their commissioned works challenge visions of a global, homogeneous, and technocratic future. On Tower Level 5, Wong Ping creates a multimedia installation centered on a colorful, racy animated tale that explores the tension between an aging population and the relentless pace of a digital economy; in her paintings and sculptures, Duan Jianyu depicts a surreal, transitory place where the rural meets the urban; and Lin Yilin constructs a virtual-reality simulation featuring a professional basketball star, testing the potential for using technology to inhabit the experience of another. On Tower Level 7, Cao Fei examines the new realities and potential crisis driven by automation and robotics at some of China’s most advanced storage and distribution facilities, and Samson Young reflects on our obsession with ritual and authenticity through a sonic and sculptural environment of imaginary musical instruments and their digitally engineered sounds.
The exhibition title One Hand Clapping is derived from a koan—riddles used in Zen Buddhist practice to challenge logical reasoning—that asks, ‘We know the sound of two hands clapping. But what is the sound of one hand clapping?’ Emerging from a tradition that originates in China’s Tang period (618–907), the phrase ‘one hand clapping’ encompasses a history of cross-cultural translation and appropriation that continues into the present, from its citation as the epigraph to J. D. Salinger’s Nine Stories (1953) to its referencing in the titles of a Cantopop song and an Australian film and the name of a British band. In this light, ‘one hand clapping’ becomes a metaphor for the processes by which meaning is fabricated, transmitted, and restated in a globalized world. The image of ‘one hand clapping’ also suggests connotations of solitude and the ability of artists to put forth a singular perspective and to challenge prevailing beliefs, stereotypes, and conventional power structures.” — Guggenheim Museum
One Hand Clapping is organized by Xiaoyu Weng, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Associate Curator of Chinese Art, and Hou Hanru, Consulting Curator, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative. Kyung An, Assistant Curator, Asian Art, provides curatorial support. The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative is part of the Guggenheim’s Asian Art Initiative, directed by Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator, Asian Art, and Senior Advisor, Global Arts.