00 poster-of-backbone

By Peng Feng

Following the lapse of time, the 70s generation of artists have gradually become the supporting force of Chinese oil painting. The idea of “backbone” in this exhibition not only points to their role in conjoining the proceeding and following generations, it is also a statement of their solid artistic vision. In the Chinese art world, artists of the 70s generation might not be as revolutionary or avant-garde as those of the 60s generation. They also might not be as consumptive or kitsch as the 80s generation. In the narrow space allotted during rapid change, this group has grown into their own solid practice, becoming the mid-garde. In an art world advocating the blind pursuit of new trends, the extremes of avant-garde and kitsch easily take precedence, but both rely on the strength of the mid-garde to survive. Most of the artists represented in the exhibition were born and grew up in the Northern provinces and completed strict training at art academies. Each has made the difficult journey of self-discovery, and they are finally receiving well-deserved attention. These artists come from different backgrounds and their styles reflect this fact. By some turn of fortune, they all came to reside in the Beijing southwestern Zhanzhou International Art District. One often hears the idiom, “Birds of a feather flock together.” On the surface these pieces could not be more different, but all carry similar qualities: a simple modesty toward nature and culture, a strong sense of responsibility for upholding society, a pursuit for erudite meaning, a uniqueness stemming from deep personal experience. These qualities form the basis of their earnest, strong, and dignified artistic style. When this group-with their similar qualities-are exhibited together, one finds something especially eye-catching. The show represents a new path for the development of contemporary art, a return to art in itself. Contemporary art, after experiencing a period in which “art is not important”, has almost returned to time when “art is all that is important”. As in the Zen saying, one believes, “To see the mountain still is a mountain; to see water still is water.”

About the exhibition

Duration: Dec 19 – 29, 2013

Venue: Today Art Museum – 2nd floor exhibition hall of Building No.1

Opening: Dec 18, 2013 Wed 16:00

Curator: Peng Feng

Artists: Zhao Peizhi, Li Xuefeng, Zhang Wenhui, Kang Lei,Du Chunhui, He Yongxing, Nvermaimaiti Elimahong, Wang Lei, Du Haijun (According to age)

Courtesy of the artists and Today Art Museum, for further information please visit

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