Date 2021.11.06-2022.02.20

Rare 14th Century Editions with Illustrations.

Based on the characteristics of "an art museum with a bookstore" and the concept of "books as art", the Pearl Museum of Art in Shanghai, in addition to presenting contemporary creations, has planned a special space in the prologue of the exhibition to present four rare copies of the "Divine Comedy" from the Encyclopedia of Tregani Academy in Italy. The restoration of the manuscripts of the Divine Comedy allows visitors to experience the long-standing interplay between text and image, and the unique charm of classical literature in an emotional and intuitive way.The film produced for the exhibition in the exhibition hall also provides a more detailed overview of the vibrant creativity in the visual arts inspired by the great literary work "The Divine Comedy" over the centuries.

A new visual interpretation of the Divine Comedy by five contemporary Italian artists, from darkness to lightBorges exclaimed: "The pinnacle of all books is the Divine Comedy. No book has ever given me such a strong aesthetic shock." Since its inception, The Divine Comedy has provided inspiration for countless poets, writers, and artists, and has become a classic masterpiece that has influenced European culture. The Divine Comedy section of this exhibition is a new appreciation and visual interpretation of this classic work of literature by five contemporary Italian artists selected from the Italian Ministry of Culture's Cantica21 art competition program. Following their work as it winds its way through the darkness towards the light, the journey in the gallery symbolically recalls and contrasts Dante's visionary travels in the Divine Comedy.

The exhibition begins with Dante's "Inferno", where sinful souls are imprisoned, and creates an immersive and dark experience in Valentina Forian's video work "Chaco". But art also gives the possibility of hope.

In Marinella Senatore's Climbing to the Stars, Dante's narrative is boldly reinterpreted, and the soul of the great evil blasphemer Vanni Fucchi is redeemed in the artist's imagination.
Dante has numerous allusions and metaphors for human purification in the Divine Comedy. Marta Roberti starts with the figurative animals in the Divine Comedy, and her work "A Collection of Allegories of Otherworldly Animals" allegorically recreates the metamorphic fusion between animals and humans.

Silvia Camporesi has created an artist's book to explore and verify the meaning of the abstract figures that recur in the poems, in an attempt to reveal "hidden doctrines".
The Divine Comedy is a "comedy" in the sense that it is a journey of overcoming obstacles, taking risks, purifying oneself, and ultimately reaping the rewards. The end point of this part of "The Divine Comedy" is Leon Contini's "Mountains of Pure Boundaries", standing on the ruins of the wars of recent history, where the rubble spirals up and regenerates into a green garden space that nurtures life: we are in this transitional zone of transformation towards the future, but life may have already arrived.

Seven Chinese artists create their own wanderings from the Shanhaijing

The history of the images of the Shanhaijing has been around since ancient times, and the poet Tao Yuanming has a famous line: "I read the biographies of the kings of the Zhou, and look at the map of the mountains and the sea. The poet Tao Yuanming had the famous line of "Looking at the biography of the king of Zhou, looking at the picture of the mountains and the sea, looking up and down to the end of the universe. In "Imaginative Encounter - The Divine Comedy in Dialogue with the Mountain and Sea Sutra", seven Chinese artists are selected for their diverse contemporary creations from the Mountain and Sea Sutra, which are not just illustrative footnotes. The visual adventure is full of oriental meaning and contemporary thinking.

Parting with Dante, Shao Yinong uses color and white space to introduce us to the oriental mythological realm laid out on silk (paintings in the "Heaven and Earth" series).
Qiu Anxiong gives his new beasts their orthodox origins in a classic style and playful manner (New Shanhaijing series of prints).
Mythological stories are found all over the Shanhaijing. It is no coincidence that deep in the exhibition hall, both artists "create new stories from stories" through the juxtaposition of painting and animation. Wu Junyong puts the literary and pictorial resources of the East and West to my use, creating a series of familiar and unfamiliar visual images ("Wind Through the Pine Forest" painting, "Flying Boat" animation).

Peng Wei uses a lighter approach to explore ancient and vivid issues such as life, death, love and hate, and the prism through which stories reflect human existence, which transcend the boundaries of civilization ("We all need stories" series of paintings and animations).


Valentina Forian's work "Chaco" at Shanghai Pearl Museum of Art


Climbing to the Stars" by Marinella Senatore at Shanghai Pearl Museum of Art


Leon Contini's work "Jiejie Mountain" was exhibited at Shanghai Pearl Museum of Art

Wu Junyong's live work "Wind through the Pine Forest" partial

Wu Junyong's animation work "Flying Boat" on display