Central to the exhibition are its hosts, who guide visitors through Raza’s droll environment comprised of such fairy-tale objects as a talking stone by Philippe Parreno and a glass and stone egg sculpture––crystalized yolk pouring out from its craggy inside––by Rachel Rose. Prompted by Ian Cheng’s e-book Emissary's Guide to Worlding, the hosts help visitors draw connections between works such as Camille Henrot’s Is it possible to be a revolutionary and like flowers?, a series of floral arrangements inspired by the Sogetsu Ikebana school, and Dan Graham’s film Rock My Religion, which surmises Shaker religion to be the foundation of rock and roll. Sound works by David Lynch and Tunde Adebimpe regularly punctuate the experience, while a mysterious interaction by Tino Sehgal functions as a pregnant pause. The guides, whose eye colors have been altered by an artwork by Rirkrit Tiravanija, will take visitors through a pavilion by Hana Miletic that offers a type of ritual space. Eventually, the visitor is asked to take part in a participatory exchange devised by Raza himself, inspired by Shaker song and movement.
Experiencing these works together incites intellectual, physical, and spiritual understandings of what it means to make an entirely new world, one in which reality is made from fiction. Raza asserts that “by re-immersing ourselves in the strangeness and fecundity of attempts to create worlds that have gone before, our imagination of a world beyond the present may be renewed.” The uncertainty about what new paradigm awaits us is unsettling in the wake of the modernist 20th century, but it links us to previous generations who experienced radical reinventions of biological and social life.
Asad Raza (b. 1974, Buffalo, NY) is an artist, producer, and writer whose recent projects include The Bedroom at the 2018 Lahore Biennale; Schema for a School at “Prelude to the Shed,” the Shed, New York; Untitled (plot for dialogue) at CONVERSO, Milan; and Root sequence. Mother tongue at the Rockbund Museum, Shanghai, and the 2017 Whitney Biennial. From 2016-2017, he served as artistic director at the Villa Empain in Brussels, where he curated the exhibitions Mondialité with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Decor with Tino Sehgal and Dorothea von Hantelmann, and Répétition with Nicola Lees. His newest work, the film Minor History, will premiere at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 2019.