From November 13, 2021 to February 15, 2022, the Power Station of Art
hosts the exhibition John Hejduk: Shanghai Masque, presenting a unique case in the 20th-century architecture history. John Hejduk (19292000) was not only a distinguished architect, educator, and historian, but also an artist and poet. Although most of his architectural imaginations and cross-media practices exist only on paper, Hejduks unremitting efforts have succeeded in expanding the scope of architectural field. His work helped shape various disciplines and continues to inspire generations of architects and artists. As the first large-scale exhibition of Hejduk in Asia, the exhibition showcases paintings, installations, manuscripts, videos, and documents in an abundant yet detailed manner, and stage large-scale structures especially reproduced for the exhibition by the students and faculty from Southeast University. Borrowing the format of a sudden masque, the exhibition welcomes iconic characters created by Hejduk to the hall. Following the architectural symphony composed by architecture and other disciplines, viewers will gradually decipher Hejduks practices and thoughts and eventually approach his world.
The title of the exhibition is inspired by the best-known works of John Hejduk, Masques (19792000). The masque was a form of courtly entertainment that originated in England in the 16th and 17th centuries. The word can also refer to the stage set involved, and architects were often invited to participate in the design of stages and costumes. Hejduk drew attention to the architect Inigo Jones, who was the first to participate in such design in the 18th century. Hejduk believed that Jones mastered all the illusions on stage, by not only manipulating the architecture, but also employing materials such as sound and light. In the late 1970s, Hejduk started to develop a series of structures titled Masques. Tailored to different urban narratives, such structures do not possess any conventional architectural forms and functions, and are usually composed of basic geometric shapes and their deformations, occasionally accompanied by some biomorphic elements. Hejduks structures of all shapes and sizes are endowed with different personalities and expressions, as if they were mask-wearing actors who tour different cities and perform different narratives. Therefore, the nomadic nature embedded in the Masques represents Hejduks intervention in society in an anti-monumental way, in his words, we are in a nomadic age.
The Shanghai Masque starts with a gigantic installation Book Marketan in-situ reconstruction of Hejduks iconic structures, through which viewers can freely wander into the exhibition. The Blue Hall presents the House for the Inhabitant Who Refused to Participate, revealing how Hejduk reflected on the relationship between architecture and its social context in an allegorical way. In the Black Hall that follows, Church, Death House, Court House and Prison House, the four characters seen in the Lancaster/Hanover Masque are presented in juxtaposition with the Berlin Night projecta project Hejduk created in later yearsto traverse his philosophical thinking about time and society.
John Hejduk firmly believed that Art, be it painting, literature or architecture, is the remaining shell of thought. For him, architecture, painting and poetry are all his language, influencing each other and contributing to each other. Therefore, the PSA exhibition not only highlights Hejduks works in painting and poetry, but also screen one of his few interviews: John Hejduk: Builder of Worlds, a sit-down interview between Hejduk and his long-time friend, poet David Shapiro. Through the interview, viewers will get a glimpse of Hejduks exclusive insights into his personal development, his architectural predecessors, and the symptoms of his time.