FORCED CLOSURE OF REDTORY MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART AND REDTORY ART+DESIGN FACTORY GUANGZHOU
It is with inexpressible regret that we are forced to announce the immediate closure of the Redtory Museum of Contemporary Art (RMCA), along with the whole district of Redtory Art+Design Factory of which it is part, from 21 November 2019. After a long period of disputation, the relevant authorities have given three days’ notice for evacuation of all premises and we have no alternative but to comply. Our current exhibition Connections and Fractures, Images of Transcendence from the Collection of RMCA and all other related exhibitions and events have now been canceled and closed.
Redtory began ten years ago when a small group of people with lofty ideals in Guangzhou realised that the derelict, recently evacuated, 17 hectares site of a former food processing and canning works which had gone through half a century could be transformed to a cultural landmark open to the public, an urban space providing a much-needed local facility for contemporary art, design, architecture, education and leisure. Under the guidance of the government and the cooperation of all sectors of society, the project was put into practice.
The district was one of few surviving industrial heritage sites from the early days of the People’s Republic when its architecture and technology had been gifted by the USSR as a sign of friendship. Unlike other such gifts, surviving in other parts of China, the style of its architecture was not in the prevailing neo-classical style of Stalinism, but in the functional, modernist style of Constructivism that by the 1940s and ‘50s had become suspect in the mainstream discourse of the USSR, but which could be tolerated away from the centre.
During its ten years of existence, the RMCA has consolidated a vital part of the fabric of the nation’s heritage and has also provided a platform for artists, designers and architects from all over the world to create and exhibit their work. In addition, it has staged a large number of multifaceted exhibitions of local, national and international importance, as well as the related programmes for public education, cultural lectures, international artist-in-residence creation, off-campus practice, and urban communication. This, with its comfortable, low-rise architecture, its relaxed and beautiful ambience, its multifarious bookshops and restaurants, the sports field at its centre, the parkland throughout the district, and countless ancient trees, will all faced with their doom and gloom.
Even though we have never sought any financial support or policy preference from the relevant authorities, we expected that they would understand and appreciate the scale of the efforts made by various cultural and art organizations in the Redtory artdistrict, especially by RMCA, which has presented their cultural significance in this city and their contribution to an era of soft power. The lack of vision is deeply disquieting, and what we spent ten years to finally achieve is indifference. As the wreckers’ machinery moves in, and the past dissolves before our eyes so does our efforts.
How will the benefit of a rather matured urban creative space be replaced by yet more needless and characterless tower blocks?
And In the rumble of bulldozers, may our love, resilience and strength for art never extinguished, and may the fire in our heart shine forever.
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