The 1979 was the prelude to a new era.
Deng Xiaoping, Margaret Thatcher, John Paul II, Ruhollah Khomeini, the Mujahedeen, they broke or even subverted their original world, releasing the two long-repressed forces, market and religion, and began to dominate this world.
This is a significant reversal of the history of social thought, promoting political and economic experiments in the three (or four) years of the world, and also spawning the axis of the 21st century! Whether we like it or not, whether we suffer or harm, today we are still living in the shadow of 1979.
— Christian Caryl
On September 27, 1979, on the fence of the park outside the National Art Museum of China, a modern art exhibition called “Star Art Exhibition” was unveiled. Two days later, the exhibition was banned. However, a single spark can start a prairie fire, and since then, China contemporary art has begun.
1979 marks the year of Deng Xiaoping’s speech at the Fourth Congress of Chinese Writers and Artist, of the publication of Dushu magazine and of the Li Honglin’s article Reading Books without Prohibited Areas that caused enormous repercussions. In 1979, Li Zehou’s On the History of Modern Chinese Thought was published and received great review. Further, Teresa Teng’s music was lifted the same year… Prior to cultural revolution, with continuing tension between mainland China and Taiwan, the queen of pop song Teresa Teng’s music was banned in China for many years. Next, Wu Guanzhong published his Formal Beauty of Painting which held wide response. In the same year, the April Photography Society, and an underground art groups known as the The No Name began to surface…
Throughout the twentieth century, there may never be a year like 1979 with so many cultural and artistic events. Needless to say, this is an essential historical moment. For this reason, the Star Art Exhibition is often regarded as the real beginning of Chinese contemporary art.
In the 40th anniversary of the Star Art Exhibition, Boers-Li Gallery grandly launches the exhibition River flowing without a Beacon, 1979, curated by Lu Mingjun. The exhibition is named with the same title of the movie River Without Buoys directed by Wu Tianming, which also was extremely controversial in 1979. This is not only a portrayal of an era, but a hope to reawaken the imagination for the future.
More than 50 artists including Feng Guodong, Huang Rui, Hao Jingban, He Xiangyu, Li Xiaobin, ONS, Pu Yingwei, Yu Ji, Yu Youhan, Zhang Peili, and Zhao Gang are invited to participate in this exhibition. More than 100 works and documentary has been selected to constitute together a discourse device with “1979” as the engine. Even if the exhibition is based on “1979”, it is not limited to the artistic, cultural and social changes of that year, but rather a multi-dimensional chain impact between the “pre-1979” and “post-1979”. The components together construct a future-oriented river of flowing art, even if without buoys.
River flowing without a Beacon, 1979
Curator: Lu Mingjun
Dates: 2019.9.14 – 10.20
Address: Boers-Li Gallery | D-06, 798 Art Zone, No.2 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
Artists: Chi Xiaoning, Feng Guodong, Gong Jian, Guo Haiqiang, Guo Haiyan, Guo Hongwei, Hao Jingban, He Baosen, He Xiangyu, Hu Jianping, Hu Jie, Huang Rui, Kang Wanhua, Li Shan, Li Shuang, Li Xiaobin, Li Yingjie, Liao Guohe, Lin Yilin, Ma Desheng, Ma Kelu, ONS, Ou Jin, Pu Yingwei, Qiu Anxiong, Sha Lina, Shi Yong, Shih Yunyu, Tang Pinggang, Tie Ying, Wang Guangyi, Wang Keping, Wang Qiang, Wang Sishun, Wei Hai, Wen Pulin, Wu Guanzhong, Xue Feng, Yan Lei, Yan Li, Yim Sui-fong, Yu Ji, Yu Meihao, Yu Youhan, Zhang Peili, Zhang Wei, Zhao Gang, Zhao Liang, Zheng Ziyan, Zhou Maiyou, Zhu Jia, Zhuang Hui