Minsheng Lecture: Sympathizing with Nature


Zhang Rui



Shanghai Citizen Lifelong Learning Art and Culture Centre, Shanghai Citizen Life-Long Learning Science Education Centre

Physical Exploration in the Art World

Guest: Zhang Rui
Date: Saturday, August 29, 2020
Time: 14:30-16:00
Venue: Multimedia Hall (1F), Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum
Organizer: Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum
Director: Shanghai Citizen Lifelong Learning Art and Culture Centre, and Shanghai Citizen Life-Long Learning Science Education Centre

For public health security, please make a real-name preservation and bring your ID for admission of the event. Please wait in line to get your temperature measured, hands sanitized, and information registered with the help of our staff. Please wear a face mask during the event. If you are experiencing a fever, coughing, or short breath, please understand that admission is not granted.

The exhibition “Flow with Matter” held at Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum is artists Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen’s first exhibition in China. The exhibition covers their kaleidoscopic contemporary art practice since 1997, including installations, video, new media, photography, and screen printing. Curator Ma Nan believes that “In their works, the world to us is not a collection of objectified things anymore, but a congregation of concrete realities, facts of matter. Within the flow of matter, our cognition and sensibility are reconciled, revealing its inner glow.” Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen's architecture and kinetic installations are minimal yet poetic, restrained and precise in their expressive language, rigorously rational. Through a variety of interdisciplinary tactics, they reexamine the sonic and visual flux of nature, its many movements and transformations, to re-ignite people's curiosity about the world, make them aware of the consequences of their own behavior.

Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen creates art that reaches the nature of things, revealing the latent structure and logic within and provoking the rational meditation to the world. With an eye of minimal aesthetics, they observe the physical laws and create something new applying industrial materials. The various shapes, colors, and movements of things in their works are not only their sympathizing with society and nature, but also the light of scientific world. For instance, due to gravity, solar planets move on elliptical orbits, which enables solar and lunar eclipses. Another example is that, for an isolated system, energy always flows from the object with higher temperature to those with lower temperature; a ball always falls from higher level to the lower place, and both are irreversible. What’s more, when a wave travels on a surface, standing waves are formed due to oscillation, then a complex pattern is born out of simple physical laws.

In the early 1920s, Liang Qichao made a speech named “Art and Science” at the Beiping State Vocational Art School, in which he claimed that Western culture evolved from the Renaissance, while the modern culture rooted in science. In his opinion, “Lady Nature” is the mother of art and science, while “observing nature” is the key of art. Combining passion and ration is what makes great art, which is also what makes great science. “Flow with Matter” is an exhibition merging art and science, in which the audience is invited to use both their senses and logic, to follow the multimedia clues left by artists and rediscover the nature and the surroundings which were taken for granted by us. The art by Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen would awake everyone’s hidden emotion and reflect on their inner world.

Perhaps, it’s safe to say that, both the STEAM education concept (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) in the scientific field, and the combine of art and technology in the art industry, search possibilities of intergrating. Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen’s art practice explains the relation between mankind and nature, human and art, as well as science and art. For artists, the living environment stimulates their interest in all kinds of natural phenomena. In the process of getting to know the world, they develop a presenting method that focuses on various senses. Such collection of micro information and emotion slower our pace and review the basic way of how mankind is connected to the world.

In this lecture, Zhang Rui, the Associate Professor of Tongji University is invited to explain the symmetric, periodic phenomena and self-organization phenomenon within the exhibition. Through a physical perspective, we get to see how our lives are tightly connected with everything in the world.

Online Call for Questions
If you find anything above interesting, you are more than welcome to leave a message. Be it a comment, an idea, or a question, it would be taken seriously at the lecture and be responded by our lecturer.

How to Take Part
Leave your message to our WeChat Official Account.

Submissions Open For (but not limited to)
1.Questions about the physical laws within Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen’s art works.
2.The unsolved physical mysteries in our life.
3.Ideas about physics in climate, nature, and environment.

About the Lecturer

Zhang Rui

Associate Professor at School of Physics and Engineering, Tongji University. Member of Engineering Physics Education Committee. Zhang focuses on Educational Technology and physics education.