Chinamania –Colorful, diverse and distincly narr
发起人:art-pa-pa  回复数:6   浏览数:4300   最后更新:2009/06/30 11:01:18 by art-pa-pa
[楼主] art-pa-pa 2009-06-30 10:56:22


text and image sources: Arken Museum website

Since the 1980s, painting has played a prominent role in Chinese contemporary art. CHINAMANIA provides a multifaceted snapshot of the Chinese painting scene today.

ARKEN’s exhibition presents 24 paintings by 11 different contemporary Chinese artists, ranging from artists whose careers took off in the 1990s to today’s generations of young artists. Most of the paintings were made especially for this show.

Taking up and developing their country’s classic art forms, the artists mix stylistic features of propaganda-art woodcuts, Socialist Realism and classic Chinese 20th-century oil painting with expressive brushwork, cute cartoon esthetics and figurative realism.

Thematically, the artists treat both national and international issues. On the one hand, they deal with local and personal issues relating to their own lives and emotions, and Chinese art, culture and history. On the other hand, they turn their gaze outward to the global world society. Inspired by the art and visual culture of other countries, their paintings have clear parallels to various Western art movements, notably Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art.

While the style of each artist in this exhibition is uniquely different, they all share an interest in figurative painting and existential themes. In powerful colors, the artists employ the narrative potential of figurative painting to rouse our curiosity and fire our imagination. Together, they form a visual universe that is brightly colored, diverse and distinctly narrative.

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[沙发:1楼] art-pa-pa 2009-06-30 10:59:21

Young Chinese artists of the so-called Ego Generation have replaced the debate about China’s political past with subjects relating to their own lives, dreams and emotions. Li Jikai (b. 1975) and Wei Jia (b. 1975) both belong to this generation of young artists. They were born under China’s one-child policy, which was introduced in 1979.

Unlike the generation before them, which grew up with political and ideological oppression, today’s young Chinese grew up as only children, typically with two hard-working parents. As planned children, they never starved, though they did experience tremendous pressure to excel from their parents. The paintings by Li and Wei exude a melancholy mood of loss and loneliness, solitary figures inhabiting barren, dreamlike landscapes. The new focus on the individual is testimony to the historical development from an age of collective communities to today’s growing individualism in a capitalistic and globalized world.

All alone

In Li Jikai’s painting Doll Holding Box (2009), a marble-white, tattered rag doll sits surrounded by arid earth, broken lumber and poisonous mushrooms. The doll is sadly staring into a small empty box. Water spilling from a white hose has collected in a forlorn puddle at its feet. Like the other objects – empty boxes, an open book with blank pages, broken lumber – the puddle symbolizes the residue of a shattered civilization in a world where only one person remains.

[板凳:2楼] art-pa-pa 2009-06-30 11:01:17

In Tokyo you can drink green tea latte, and in Israel you can buy a kosher Big Mac. International brands are merging with national customs. This happens not only on the economic market – in contemporary art too international and national perspectives are joining in new ways.

In recent years the contemporary art scene has seen a boom in China. This is partly due to increasing political openness in general and towards other artistic forms of expression than the propagandistic one. At the same time the economic market in China has expanded. This has increased the opportunities for sales both nationally and internationally.

A key trend is the mix between national and international features: On the one hand the artists consider their own lives and emotions, dealing explicitly with Chinese culture and history. On the other, they turn their gazes towards the rest of the world.
Overall Western art history is often an obvious source of inspiration. Thus, in one of the paintings shown in the exhibition, Yang Shaobin reproduces the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh’s down-at-heel shoes from the painting A Pair of Shoes (1886).

Different countries, different celebrities

The three paintings by Liu Ye (b. 1964) in this show each feature a musical celebrity from a different part of the world. One shows a childlike version of China’s uncrowned queen of pop, Deng Lijun, depicted – befitting a romanticized and kitschy pop-culture icon – in a sweet pink interior, holding flowers and wearing a big, red bow around her neck. A child portrait of Mozart subjects the Austrian composer to a similar treatment, with bright blue eyes, apple cheeks and ruffled collar on a pitch-black background. Finally, Liu portrays the American jazz musician Chet Baker, who peaked in the 1950s. In tones of black and blue, Liu underscores the cool melancholy that informed Baker’s music and lifestyle, though the cartoon esthetics easily overpowers that somber content.

Juxtaposing musicians from three different countries and periods, Liu challenges our cultural visual codes and background knowledge. Likely, almost everyone in China will know Deng Lijun, while she will be familiar to very few people in the United States or Europe. Conversely, Chet Baker is probably not much of a celebrity in China. Working in the cartoon esthetics, Liu crafts a nonhierarchical presentation of three music legends. How they are perceived depends on who is doing the perceiving and where.