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Prada Rong Zhai

Michaël Borremans: The Promise

Prada presents Michaël Borremans' first solo exhibition in Mainland China with the support of Fondazione Prada. On view from 9 April to 9 June 2024 at Prada Rong Zhai, a 1918 historic residence in Shanghai restored by Prada and reopened in October 2017.



9 April - 9 June 2024

No. 186 North Shaan Xi Road Jing’an District, Shanghai

Tuesday - Sunday 10am-6pm


One of the most renowned painters of his generation, Michaël Borremans (Belgium, 1963) depicts the human condition by creating an ambiguous tension between his refined language and the portrayed subjects. In his paintings, human figures and everyday objects are isolated in their own world, immersed in an absurd, uncanny, or dreamlike atmosphere. While Borremans sometimes uses found images as inspiration for his paintings he more frequently photographs his planned compositions. Despite it, his works depict a subjective reality evoking a space and time that is both ambiguous and indistinct. As the artist stated, “I’m always thinking of the psychological impact of an image that I’m creating when I’ll show it because you make a painting in the studio, but the act of painting is showing it – I’m aware, or I’m thinking about, the effect on a possible viewer. It’ll be different for everyone, but I want to decide on the direction it has.”


Over the past two decades, the Belgian artist has also created short films. His drawings and paintings as the formal basis of these works, which look like performative moments in the form of tableaux vivants, create a contrast between an everyday reality and a dark, parallel dimension. Through the camera’s slow movement, Borremans either observes the rituals of human alienation or creates intense moments of suspension, triggering the viewer’s attention to a specific detail of a face, a body, or clothing.

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“The Promise” will feature twenty-three paintings by Borremans and one of his films showcased on the two main floors of the building. The Prada Rong Zhai domestic-like and historical spaces will enhance the sense of anachronism conveyed by Borremans’ art. The exhibition will allow visitors to move freely around the different rooms and experience the multiple connections between history and contemporaneity in his works as well as a confrontation with the unique context of the early twentieth-century villa.
Michaël Borremans

Michaël Borremans (1963 Geraardsbergen, Belgium) lives and works in Ghent, Belgium. He received his M.F.A. from Hogeschool voor Wetenschap en Kunst, Campus St. Lucas, in Ghent in 1996. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at several notable institutions such as the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan (2020); Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague (2020); Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain (2015-2016); Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2015); Dallas Museum of Art (2015); Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels (2014); Hara Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2014); Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, Germany (2011); Műcsarnok Kunsthalle, Budapest (2011); Kunsthalle Helsinki (2011); Kunstnernes Hus in Oslo (2010); Royal Palace in Brussels (2010); Kestner Gesellschaft, Hanover, Germany (2009); de Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam (2007); Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent (2005; traveled to Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London; and Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin); Cleveland Museum of Art (2005); Kunsthalle Bremerhaven, Germany (2004); and the Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel (2004).

Work by the artist is held in public international collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Cleveland Museum of Art; Dallas Museum of Art; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
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