chinese contemporary art

New York Exhibitions>>

SUMMER GROUP SHOW, Roots and Mutations
July - August 2008

Chinese Contemporary New York is pleased to announce its Summer 2008 Group Show, including works by Huang Rui, the Luo Brothers, Ren Sihong, Wang Jin, Xue Song, Zhang Dali, and Zhao Bo.

Chinese Contemporary’s New York Summer 2008 Group Show represents a variety of artists and media. These exhibited works comment on China’s political and social condition. Some of the pieces are highly intellectual and literary, dwelling on political and social history, while others provide a snapshot of quickly transforming urban life, yet every single one refers to visual or literary symbols of communist or contemporary china.

The two works by Huang Rui take the viewer into the semantics of Chinese politics, making disturbing quotes. The set of four oils on canvas juxtapose parallel slogans from the PRC and Taiwan, exploring their identity and relationship. In the second work, the artist creates an altar-like memorial for the voice of Chairman Mao. The significance of this work is two-fold, not only alluding to the death of Mao’s words but also to the veneration of the dead and the importance of his heritage.

Zhang Dali’s work comments on the social changes of contemporary China and their consequences. Urbanisation has wiped out entire neighbourhoods, ways of life, and the heritage of a city. The body cast, part of a series titled “Chinese Offspring,” records a new social class, with features such as mobility resulting directly from changes in the economic system.

Wang Jin’s work, Dream of China, reflects the conflict between Chinese traditional culture and Western consumer society. By using PVC and fishing line to make a Peking Opera robe, the artist comments on the passage of tradition through contemporary times.

The two mixed-media collages by Xue Song are the visual expression of his careful observations of China’s adjustments in the post-Mao era. The iconic shape of the Coke bottle symbolizes China’s opening to the West and change in system. In the large work, titled “Reborn,” Xue Song portrays two generations of women, the roots from the Communist era and the stems of today’s China.

The Luo Brothers, a Beijing-based trio of brothers, are mixing traditional Chinese symbols with those of consumer society. Their work is extremely kitsch and in this regard infused with Chinese folk aesthetics.

Ren Sihong denounces the drawbacks of Communist ideology. “Broadcast Exercise” refers to the early morning gymnastics the Little Red Book made compulsory in every work unit in China and which is still in effect in schools today.

Zhao Bo explores the relationship between the fast changing cities of China and their inhabitants. The cityscape mixes aspects of the communist era, such as slogans, and the new capitalist society, bright with neon signs and other advertisements. Wu Junyong’s drawings from the “Opera” series are explicit satirical comments on politics. The imagery is hilarious, for it denounces and ridicules the fantasies of Chinese politicians.

Laure Raibaut, New York July 2008