“About Painting Too” is the second in a series of exhibitions that addresses a topical issue within art today and with particular reference to art in China. This year, young curator Pu Hong was invited to present a topic of his choice. Continuing the critical engagement with painting that was explored in the first exhibition in the series, “About Painting” in the spring of 2014, Pu Hong again takes painting as his subject. Through the work of eight artists, he selects a range of older and more recent works, each of which is distinctive of the style and approach for which each of the artists are known. Several, including Xu Zhen/MadeIn, Zhang Enli and Ding Yi, are very well known indeed and have, in recent years, been the subject of a series of large-scale solo exhibitions in China and abroad. In their special way, Wang Chuan, Yang Shu and Xu Hongming have each made a significant contribution to the language of abstract painting in China, while the younger artists included here, Wang Guangle and Zhao Yao, bring the distinct energy of their generation to the art they produce.
Through his research, Pu Hong has focused less on how each individual artist arrived at their particular approach and, instead, questioned the conventional notion of painting today as the singular act of applying paint to canvas using a brush. In conclusion, he finds that, in some instances, Xu Zhen/MadeIn being the immediate example, successful forms of pictorial expression may involve neither paint brush nor even using paint itself. Abandoning the conventional materials altogether, Xu Zhen creates multi-textured collages on canvas as his version of a two-dimensional pictorial image. In a similar direction, Xu Hongming dispenses with the brush and applies pigment directly onto dampened paper using his hand or a sieve to invite elements both natural and incidental to occur. Zhang Enli, meanwhile, might still use paint but in this exhibition abandons the canvas and the confines of a picture plane entirely to create for OCAT Xi’an an unique space painting that unfolds across the floor of the upper level gallery. This immersive approach allows visitors to float on the painted surface as they walk over it as well as to sit or even lie down on it.
“About Painting Too” thus presents paintings that are not at all conventional in a classical sense. It does not start a trend, nor make any attempt to summarize and label artists collectively. It is simply about what painting can be in the most elemental sense of creating two-dimensional artworks today. Here, then, an exhibition that does not take as its focus “the best” or “most representative” of but instead pins down the various artists’ ways of painting in the very act of becoming something new.
For their invaluable assistance with this exhibition OCAT Xi’an and Pu Hong would like to thank the following: Lorenz Helbling at ShanghArt Gallery, Shanghai; MadeIn Company, Shanghai; collectors who loaned valuable works Zhou Dawei and Zhao Youhou; Lv Jingjing at Beijing Commune; Liu Jie at A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu; Edmond Wong at Workshop117; James Walkden, general manager at The West in Xi’an.
About the curator
Pu Hong is an art critic and curator. He holds his Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degree from the Department of Art History at Tsinghua University. Selected exhibitions include “From University to Universes: Fresh Vision 2013”, 2013, OCT-Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, China; “Another Leap”, 2014, Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China. His essays have been published widely in Leap, Artforum, Art World Magazine, and catalogues for Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), OCT-Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT), etc.
About the artists
Ding Yi was born in 1962 in Shanghai. He graduated from Shanghai University Art School in 1990. He lives and works in Shanghai.
Wang Chuan was born in Chengdu in 1953. He graduated from Sichuan Institute of Fine Arts in 1982. He lives and works in Beijing.
Wang Guangle was born in Fujian Province in 1976. He graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, in 2000. He lives and works in Beijing.
Xu Hongming was born in Hunan Province in 1971. In 1991, he studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. He lives and works in Beijing.
Xu Zhen was born in Shanghai in 1977. He graduated from Shanghai School of Art and Craft in 1996. He lives and works in Shanghai.
Yang Shu was born in Chongqing in 1965. He received a Masters from the Oil Painting Department of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 1988, and started his career as a lecturer there. He currently lives and works in Chongqing.
Zhang Enli was born in Jilin in 1965. He studied at the Art School of Wuxi Light Industry University, graduating in 1989. He lives and works in Shanghai.
Zhao Yao was born in Huxian, Sichuan Province in 1981. He graduated from the design department of Sichuan Institute of Fine Arts in 2004. He lives and works in Beijing.
“About Painting Too”
Date: August 22 – November 1, 2015
Opening: August 22, 5pm
There will be a curator’s talk on Saturday August 22nd at 10 am. This will be followed by two artist talks in the afternoon beginning at 2pm to 3:30pmand then 3:40pm to 5pm.
Please join Ding Yi, Wang Chuan, Wang Guangle, Xu Hongming, Xu Zhen, Yang Shu, Zhao Yao and Zhang Enli, together with guest curator Pu Hong at OCAT Xi’an on Saturday, August 22nd!
Ten Years of OCAT: 2005-2015
OCAT was established a decade ago in 2005 as a subsidiary of the He Xiangning Art Museum. OCAT became a registered, independent non-profit organization in April 2012, and began building a group of contemporary museums of art across China. It is an art institution sponsored by the state-owned enterprise OCT Group. With its headquarters in Shenzhen, the museum group comprises OCAT Shenzhen, OCT Art & Design Gallery (Shenzhen), OCAT Shanghai, OCAT Xi’an, and OCAT Institute (Beijing).
These past ten years, OCAT has been party to the greatest period of change in Chinese contemporary art. With the sustained investment of OCT Group and the support of various realms of society, OCAT has approached its mission within public service, professionalism and independence as its core values, its goal to promote a cross-platform exchange between the Chinese and global contemporary art communities, and become a non-governmental art institution with international standards and influence developed through exhibitions, research projects, academic exchange, public education, publications and international art residencies.
OCAT takes the research and display of contemporary visual art as its primary focus, but its activities also extend into other fields such as experimental theater, music, film, design, and architecture. It emphasizes historical research related to Chinese modern and contemporary art, and academic exchange on art history, theory, and criticism between China and abroad. Through extensive communication with international communities of contemporary art, OCAT aspires to be an important representative of Chinese independent art through the promotion, construction, and reflection of its theory, practice, and infrastructure.
The OCAT Museums currently operates the following organizations: OCAT Shenzhen was founded in 2005, and is the headquarters of the OCAT Museums. As the first art establishment among the OCAT Museums, OCAT Shenzhen has a long-term commitment to the practice and research in the field of contemporary art and theory both inside of China and in the international arena. OCT Art & Design Gallery was founded in Shenzhen in 2008. It is the first museum in China dedicated to the field of design. OCAT Shanghai was established in 2012, with media art and architectural design at its core. OCAT Xi’an was established in 2013, and is a museum focused on contemporary painting and installation.
OCAT Institute (Beijing) is a non-profit research center dedicated to the history of art and its related discourses. It is also a member of the OCAT Museums. The Institute has three main areas of activity: publication, archives and exhibition. The scope of its research encompasses the investigation of artists, artworks, schools of art production, exhibitions, art discourses, as well as art institutions, publications, and other aspects of art’s overall ecosystem. It will establish a research archive and facilitate dialogue and exchange between China and the rest of the world. In addition, it will serve as an exhibition platform in Beijing.
On the occasion of this ten year anniversary, OCAT will be holding a series of celebrations under the title “Ten Years of OCAT”, promoting the academic ideas of OCAT, introducing the museums of the OCAT Museums, highlighting the achievements and experiences of OCAT over the past decade and laying out the future development of the organization.
OCAT will also use this opportunity to thank all those who have supported OCAT over the years and to build new ties for academic exchange. The events will be held throughout 2015 at OCAT Shenzhen, OCT Art & Design Gallery, OCAT Shanghai, OCAT Xi’an and the OCAT Institute (Beijing). Each facility will select one exhibition this year to serve as part of the “Ten Years of OCAT” celebrations.
OCAT Shenzhen is presenting “Geng Jianyi Solo Exhibition”; OCT Art & Design Gallery is presenting a comprehensive design exhibition; OCAT Xi’an is presenting “About Painting Too”; OCAT Shanghai is presenting works from the Pierre Huber Collection. The central event of the year-long celebration will be the inaugural exhibition of the OCAT Institute in Beijing in October, which includes “A Retrospective: Ten Years of OCAT”, symposiums and other activities.
Courtesy of the artists and OCAT Xi’an, for further information please visit www.ocat.org.cn or contact Shi Na, 029-85529445 / firstname.lastname@example.org.