chinese contemporary art

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Zhao Bo Solo Exhibition

Chinese Contemporary Gallery, New York, is pleased to present Big City, an exhibition of new works by Zhao Bo.  Zhao Bo: Big City will be exhibited from 29 September – 25 October 2007.  The artist will be present at the opening on 29 September from 11 am – 6 pm.   

Zhao Bo’s canvases capture the pulsating energy and constrained chaos of China’s growing metropolises.  He is part of China’s “New Realists,” whose works reinterpret traditional realism and possess few of the political overtones seen in early Chinese realist works.  Zhao Bo is from China’s post-political society, the generation of now 20 something’s who grew up in a time of relative political stability and economic prosperity.   The artist’s works are a reflection of the revelrous attitude of this generation and the prospering society in which they live.  This sense of revelry is one shared by the millions of urban Chinese whose lives are marked by a flood of consumer goods, luxury apartments, international fast food chains and a level of material comfort inconceivable 15 years prior.  This orgy of consumerism and wealth characterizes urban China and is brilliantly reflected in Zhao Bo’s canvases.

Zhao Bo’s large canvases create a rollicking picture of city life where traditional architecture abuts with new Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants and where enthusiastic youths tote Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book while against the glowing backdrop Coca Cola and McDonald’s advertisements.  These works, like China’s urban landscapes, are both a study in visual contrast and of seamless coexistence.  Zhao Bo’s canvases effortlessly capture the bustle of Chinese streets and the hopeful aspirations of every citizen and of the society as a whole.  In his works, he captures the clash of communist and capitalist, east and west, the ridiculous, the sly, the ludicrous and the overwhelming feeling that everyone is on the make.

For this exhibition, Zhao Bo has initiated a new series of works titled Big City.  With these works, Zhao Bo had adapted the seasonal floral themes from classical Chinese paintings into the contemporary vernacular.  Like poets and painters before him, he has personified these seasons, but, rather than using words, Zhao Bo’s subjects have literally adopted the seasonal characteristics that were so often depicted in ink paintings and classical poetry.  However, in the Big City series, we are not presented with idyllic landscapes but rather with concrete cityscapes whose bustling peopled avenues provide stark contrast to the quiet serenity of classical Chinese painting’s rocky slopes and babbling brooks.  This is not a lament for disappearing environs, rather a statement about the osmotic process through which commercialism and materialism have been absorbed into Chinese society and, in particular, its intelligentsia.  It is through the pictorial contrast of these landscapes that a comment is made on the changes that have occurred within Chinese society – a society whose moral standards are seen to have slipped by many of the country's intelligentsia and the materialists have the upper hand over the idealists.