View of “The Uncertain, or the Shelved . . . ,” 2016.

View of “The Uncertain, or the Shelved . . . ,” 2016.

“The Uncertain, or the Shelved . . .”

ShanghART Gallery | 香格纳画廊

View of “The Uncertain, or the Shelved . . . ,” 2016.

Gallery group shows, especially big, sprawling affairs, can often be disjointed, totally hit or miss, leaving the viewer feeling unsure of the curatorial intention beyond shrewd or blatant commercial motivations. This definitely wasn’t the case with “The Uncertain, or the Shelved . . . ”. Conceived and curated by the Chinese Conceptual and installation artist Shi Yong, with considerable input from the participating artists, this exhibition posed the question of what artists might do when nobody is looking—that is, when experimentation and uncertainty drive the process and become the essential ingredients for a mysterious stew not yet ready for public consumption.

Presented in the gallery’s main space and continuing in its mammoth H-Space a few doors away, the show was made by foraging through the studios of thirty-seven artists. Almost all of the more than eighty works—paintings,

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