Theaster Gates’ immersive ‘China Cabinet ‘exhibition takes over Prada Rong Zhai

Exploring the roles of ‘guest’, ‘ghost’ and ‘host’

Theaster Gates has opened his intriguing China Cabinet exhibition at Fondazione Prada’s Rong Zhai outpost, setting his ceramic sculptures and artworks within the historic 1918 Shanghai residence.

China Cabinet runs until 23 May 2021 at the restored 1918 residence, with three ground floor rooms encompassing a chapter of Gates’ practice and exploring the roles of ‘guest’, ‘ghost’ and ‘host’.

The first room is set up like an antique Chinese porcelain boutique. It delves into recurrent motifs and themes, including craftsmanship and materials, African American imagery and activism, and archival materials.

The second room recreates Gates’ potter’s workshop, furnished with plates, cups and vases from his practice as a ceramicist. Here, materials and textures are at the fore, while the third space sees Gates occupy Prada Rhong Zhai as the host, displaying his artworks as if in a private home.

Photography: Prada

Though site-specific, China Cabinet brings together recurrent themes of Gates’ social practice, which has seen him revitalise maligned buildings, spaces, and neighbourhoods by merging art with urban planning.

Prada Rong Zhai o. 186 North Shaan Xi Road, Jing’an District, Shanghai

Photography: Prada
Photography: Prada
Photography: Prada

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