After closing the exhibit only one week after its original showing in the spring semester, NYU Shanghai’s Institution of Contemporary Arts is reviving Close Your Eyes and You Will Know. This exhibition aims to provide a journey through states of consciousness to access alternate realities through a modern shamanic practice entitled “Core Shamanism.” 

Featuring four main aspects: video, watercolor, projections, and ink drawing, the exhibition takes visitors on a journey of the senses. Composed of work by Taipei-based artist Yin Ju Chen, in collaboration with shamanic practitioner Li-Chun Lin (Marina), the exhibition utilizes audio and visual mediums to provide an experience where visitors feel immersed in this shamanic experience while reading the illustrated shamanic journeys by Chen. 

  1. Middle Ink Drawing 

Photo Credit (person who takes the photo): Zhu Zhenyu

Caption:

Detail View: Yin-Ju Chen and Li-Chun Lin (Marina), Sonic Driving, 2018–ongoing. Mixed media installation and workshops; Dimensions variable. ICA at NYU Shanghai, 2022. PHOTO: Zhu Zhenyu. Courtesy of the ICA at NYU Shanghai.

作品细节:陈滢如与林丽纯,《音波驱动》,2018—进行中。混合媒介装置和工作坊;尺寸可变。上纽ICA,2022年。摄影:朱振宇。感谢上纽ICA供图。

At the center of the exhibition room stands an ink drawing by Lin, which depicts the Chinese character for shamanism (巫, wū), using various imagery. Central to the setup of the exhibition, the character contains a representation of three worlds (upper, middle, and lower) connected at the center with people in the middle world. Within the ink drawing Chen includes phrases in various languages, as well as depictions of both her and Marina’s spirit animals. 

  1. Upper World Video 

Photo Credit (person who takes the photo): Zhu Zhenyu

Caption: 

Installation View: Close Your Eyes and You Will Know with Yin-Ju Chen and Li-Chun Lin (Marina). ICA at NYU Shanghai, 13 October-16 December, 2022. PHOTO: Zhu Zhenyu. Courtesy of the ICA at NYU Shanghai. 

展览现场:“闭上双眼,真识即显。关掉大脑,真知即现。”——陈滢如与林丽纯的展览。上纽ICA,2022年10月13日—12月16日。摄影:朱振宇。感谢上纽ICA供图。

Displayed at the front of the exhibition room is a 15-minute video describing the upper world. This helps the visitor visualize both the physical and spiritual journeys shamans take when they pass between the middle and upper world. The video contains footage personally taken by Chen during her own physical journey to spiritual lands and her visualization of the spiritual process of traveling through realms. 

  1. Watercolor Drawings 

Caption:

Installation View: Close Your Eyes and You Will Know with Yin-Ju Chen and Li-Chun Lin (Marina). ICA at NYU Shanghai, 13 October–16 December, 2022. PHOTO: Zhu Zhenyu. Courtesy of the ICA at NYU Shanghai. 

展览现场:“闭上双眼,真识即显。关掉大脑,真知即现。”——陈滢如与林丽纯的展览。上纽ICA,2022年10月13日—12月16日。摄影:朱振宇。感谢上纽ICA供图。

Opposite the video screen on the other side of the room stands a board with watercolor drawings by Chen, mapping out a compilation of personal journeys to the lower world. Starting from an entry point, Chen includes arrows, notes, and dates to help the viewer navigate these journeys, many of which include multiple events and scenery. While the notes are written in Chinese, English translations are available, containing clear maps of Chen’s handwritten notes and offering guidance in navigating the display as a whole. 

  1. Ceiling projections 

Photo Credit (person who takes the photo): Zhu Zhenyu

Caption:

Detail View: Yin-Ju Chen and Li-Chun Lin (Marina), Sonic Driving, 2018–ongoing. Mixed media installation and workshops; Dimensions variable. ICA at NYU Shanghai, 2022. PHOTO: Zhu Zhenyu. Courtesy of the ICA at NYU Shanghai.

作品细节:陈滢如与林丽纯,《音波驱动》,2018—进行中。混合媒介装置和工作坊;尺寸可变。上纽ICA,2022年。摄影:朱振宇。感谢上纽ICA供图。

The exhibition also displays four projections on the ceilings on opposite sides of the room. These projections display questions such as “What will our world look like 100 years from now?” and “How will global warming affect the Earth?”: all of which were discussed during workshops held by both Chen and Lin. In these workshops participants, after they attempted this shamanic practice for the first time, shared their own answers as well.

During the Spring 2022 semester, some members of the NYU Shanghai community had the opportunity to participate in these workshops. This semester, there is another opportunity to learn more about the art displayed in this exhibit and interact with Yin-Ju Chen, one of the artists behind the exhibit, in an artist talk titled “The Way to Mandala: The Artistic Practice of Connecting the Self to the Universe.” The event will take place online this Saturday, October 22nd. 

Located on the first floor near the front entrance, this exhibit is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. until December 16th, 2022.  More information about the artists and exhibit can be found at the ICA official account linked here. 

Whether stopping in for a quick glance or taking a little more time to immerse in the drumming of the Sonic-Driving practice and inspect the illuminated artwork, the exhibit offers a wonderful opportunity to learn of the unique knowledge and practices of shamanism.