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ROKEBY, Art Basel and BMW will unveil an installation of work made in response to the epic journey undertaken by British artist Abigail Reynolds, winner of the BMW Art Journey 2016.

‘The Ruins of Time: Lost Libraries of the Silk Road’ will be showcased at the BMW Lounge of Art Basel in Hong Kong 2017 and will comprise of a body of work completed by Reynolds in response to her findings along the Silk Road. ‘The Ruins of Time: Lost Libraries of the Silk Road’ is a five-month-long exploration into the complex religious and secular narratives of Europe and Asia, for which the artist undertook extensive multi-continental travel to parts of the Silk Road. The journey has enabled Reynolds to expand her current interests and working methods by investigating the sites of former libraries she discovered in her research and documenting what she found at each location.

Reynolds’ artistic practice is closely linked to books and libraries. Having studied English Literature at Oxford University, she frequently draws from literature and literary figures using books as both sites of research and source material. This connection to libraries and literature led her to conceive a journey which involved a series of visits to historic and fabled repositories of books. During the journey, 

Reynolds traced and documented sixteen sites of libraries lost to political conflicts, natural catastrophes and war. Exploring blanks and voids, she positions the library as a symbol of the impossibility of encompassing all knowledge. Reynolds’ journey took her to sites dating from 291 BC to 2011 including China, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Egypt, Italy and Iran. Along the way she gathered material in various forms including written text and 16mm film. Based on this extensive research, she has created a cluster of objects, structures and moving-image works. Images, texts and other documents originating from the experience will be included in a book – thus completing a journey that both starts and ends with the institution of the library. 

Reynolds is the third BMW Art Journey winner and will be the second artist to unveil her work at Art Basel’s Hong Kong show, following work by previous winner Samson Young, which debuted at the 2016 edition. The international jury selected her unanimously from a shortlist of three artists whose works were exhibited in the Discoveries sector at Art Basel in Hong Kong 2016. The members of the jury were Richard Armstrong, Director Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Claire Hsu, Director Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; Matthias Mühling, Director Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich; Bose Krishnamachari, President Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India; and Pauline J. Yao, Curator Visual Art M+, Hong Kong. 

The BMW Art Journey is a global collaboration between Art Basel and BMW, created to recognize and support emerging artists worldwide. 


22.03.2017, 17.00 - 18.00: BMW Art Journey artist talk between Abigail Reynolds and Samson Young, BMW Lounge 

23.03.2017, 16.00 - 17.00: Asia Art Archive, Art and Fiction, Doretta Lau and Abigail Reynolds, Asia Art Archive booth
24.03.2017, 13.00 - 14.00: Art Basel Salon: The Language(s) We Speak | Art as Communication

Read a recent conversation between Abigail Reynolds and Sam Gaskin here.

For further information about the journey, click here.

BMW Art Journey - Interview with Abigail Reynolds on Vimeo.