Rolls-Royce announced today that, as part of its Art Programme, it has entered into a benefactor relationship with Rockbund Art Museum (RAM), Shanghai. As part of this arrangement, the partnership will bring American artist Asad Raza’s work Root sequence. Mother tongue, to the Rockbund Art Museum. The installation will now form part of ‘RAM HIGHLIGHTS 2017: DISPLACE’, a project which aims to transform the museum into a boundary-breaking experimental space, fostering a diverse and yet open viewing experience.

The installation will mark the Chinese debut for the work, which was first shown at the Whitney Biennial, 2017. Additionally, and most importantly, the Rolls-Royce Art Programme will maintain a relationship with the museum and artist, to further show the work around the world. In this instance, Root sequence. Mother tongue, will, after a six day public exposure at Rockbund Art Museum, be reconstituted at venues which will be announced in due course.

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Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars commented, “Asad Raza’s work Root sequence. Mother tongue, is an intriguing and beguiling installation that challenges the conventions of how we interact with art. The Rolls-Royce Art Programme seeks to foster reativity and we are thrilled that the public will once again experience this unique and exciting installation.”

Larys Frogier, Director of the Rockbund Art Museum, added “The Rockbund Art Museum is honoured for the brilliant support given by the Rolls-Royce Art Programme to Root Sequence, Mother Tongue, a stunning artwork created by Asad Raza, that combines eco-care, visual arts, choreography and performance, with ongoing collective artistic contributions. In the framework of the DISPLACE art event produced for the RAM Highlight 2017 edition, the two organizations share the same value for excellence, high quality and unique creative projects. They also stand at the forefront of supporting new art formats, beyond the usual definition of art exhibition and art object. Such collaboration between Rolls-Royce and RAM is based on a sincere and full engagement in favor of the artists’ projects and as such it envisions brand new possibilities for contemporary art development.”

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Root sequence. Mother tongue will bring the forest – a space of myth and fairy tales – into the museum. The installation will include 26 trees planted in soil-filled wooden boxes and local Chinese people who act as ‘caretakers’ for the trees, which collectively, the artist describes as characters, individual inhabitants in a living network. Each tree is grown locally, and their continuing growth throughout the installation forms part of the exhibition, alongside the improvised interaction of the caretakers, who might even opt to move the trees, as part of their performance.

UV lights are strategically placed to encourage the trees’ photosynthesis throughout the installation, whilst casting a pink hue over the proceedings. Objects belonging to the caretakers and relating to their personal histories are also incorporated into the installation, creating an intriguing and unexpected immersive experience. Raza intends to create an environment that provides visitors a park-like respite from the traditional museum viewing experience, shunning silence and sedentary observation in preference of interaction and stimulation. Adding a further complexity to the work, the space can be adapted for other artists or performers to interact with the environment, acting as guest contributors to the piece.