This summer at the Asian Art Museum, 8,000 sheets of calligraphy paper hang suspended by cotton threads. Silence is palpable within Zhu Jinshi’s interactive Boat (2012) installation. A visitor walking through the towering tunnel seems to simultaneously advance and recede.
Like Boat, the exhibition 28 Chinese reflects a concern that engages dualities of moving forward and gazing backward — dualities of inviting change and revering tradition. Harnessing media that spans from Qing Dynasty antiques to digital technology, the show — which opened Friday and runs through Aug. 16 — examines Chinese art’s relationship to its history and to its present-day concerns, including globalization and industrialism. The cross-disciplinary 28 Chinese blends emerging talents and established figures, commencing a dialogue about China on the North American stage.