This exhibition focuses on art works ranging from Pop Art to New Media in contemporary art by Chinese artists. The artists featured are notable leading contemporary artists whom have exhibited internationally. They were born and bred in an era where the social and global political scenes are ever-changing, and these are reflected in their constantly challenging of mediums used, and negotiation of the nuances and effects of these changes among individuals.
Pop art is an art movement that emerged in the 1950s in Britain and the United States. In the 1990s, some Chinese artists – Ji Wenyu, Wang Guangyi, Wei Guangqing, Xue Song – started using Pop Art techniques, juxtaposing historical and political icons, such as Cultural Revolution imagery Mao Zedong, ridiculing and disrupting myth in cultural and political altars.
Whilst the above mentioned artists went head strong with rather direct messages in their works, Zhang Enli chose to appreciate and explore the often forgotten objects of daily life, such as a dustin in Dustbin (2006), which was from his series of earlier works.
Born in the 80s, Sun Xun and Zhang Ding are younger artists breaking through to newer perspectives and techniques. Sun Xun uses traditional medium, such as woodblock printing, to create animations – they tell stories that people can relate to universally and oftentimes straddle between reality and fantasy, time and history. This is prominent in Time Spy (2016), an Audermars Piguet Art Commission which is on view for a month from this July, on the electronic billboards at Times Square in New York City, which will be shown in parallel in this exhibition as well. The grand narratives and planned nature of Sun Xun’s works are in contrast to Zhang Ding’s practice, which are mainly experimental, and focuses on the conflicts of sensory perceptions. He often presents his work through solo projects where he produces site specific works using light, sound, performance and visual imagery.
The artists’ varied experiences impacted their practice and these shifts in viewpoints are reflected in their works, henceforth tremendously shaping the contemporary art scene in China. The use of Pop Art is still very much utilised in contemporary art in recent years and are continually being reinvented together with the advancement of New Media.
About the artists
JI WENYU (b. 1959) was born in Shanghai. He is living and working in Shanghai. He creates works that are full of surprises and reference both political occurrences and cultural productions while also focusing on the distortion of today’s spectacle society. By juxtaposing images and icons of the stereotyped oriental and the assumed occidental, Ji Wenyu questions the politics of cultural representation. He has participated in numerous exhibitions including Make Over, OV Gallery, Shanghai (2010); HyperDesign-Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai (2006), Here the Scene is Better, H-Space ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai (2006), Dressing Up before Going Out, Museum 52, London, U.K.(2006); Infinite Painting, Villa Manin – Centre for Contemporary Art, Passariano, Codroipo(Udine), Italy (2006).
SUN XUN (b.1980) was born in Fuxin, Liaoning Province. He currently lives and works in Beijing. He graduated from the China Academy of Fine Arts in 2005 and founded π Animation Studio in the following year. Sun Xun completed his first 3D animated film “Magic Party and Dead Crow,” which was nominated in the 8th Rome Film Festival 2013, and has received Young Artist Award in The 8th AAC Art China Awards for the Most Influential in 2014. Some notable awards include Best Young Artist, Chinese Contemporary Art Awards (2010), Young Art Award, Taiwan Contemporary Art Link (2010), and the Arts Fellowship by Citivella Ranieri Foundation, Italy (2010). Sun Xun’s recent major exhibitions include Prediction Laboratory, Yuz Museum, Shanghai (2016); Republic of Jing Bang, a Country Based on Whale, Holland Animation Film Festival & City Hall, Utrecht, The Netherlands (2015) ; Script Film–A Sun Xun Art Theater Residence Project, Hangzhou, China (2015); The Time Vivarium, Sean Kelly, New York, U.S.A (2014); PALIMPSESTES – Sun Xun Solo Exhibition, ShanghART Singapore, Singapore (2014); Brave New World, Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong (2014); Yesterday Is Tomorrow, Hayward Gallery, London, UK (2014); Magician Party and Dead Crow, ShanghART Beijing, Beijing (2013); The 4th Moscow International Biennale for Young Artists Exhibition in Moscow, Russia (2014); My Generation: Chinese Young Artists, Tampa Museum of Art and Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.A (2014); Chinese Ink: Past as Present in Contemporary China, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, U.S.A (2013); Documentary Fortnight 2013, MoMA’s International Festival of Nonfiction Film and Media, New York, U.S.A (2013).
WANG GUANGYI (b. 1956), was born in Ha’erbin, Heilongjiang province. He graduated from Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts, Oil Painting Department in 1984 and resides and works in Beijing. His aesthetic entails sampling a variety of imagery – such as well-known propaganda images and photographs – and fusing them with corporate brand names in order to undermine their original purpose. In combining ideology and advertisement, he criticises the apparent’ truths’ of both. In short, he brands Socialist Realist iconography and symbols with a different contradictory discursive system. Recent solo exhibition include Wang Guangyi. The Interactive Mirror Image, Tank Loft. Chongqing Contemporary Art Center, Chongqing (2011); Visual Politics, Solo Exhibition of Wang Guangyi, He Xiangning Art Museum, Guangdong(2008); Cold War Aesthetics, Wang Guangyi, Institute of Louisse Blouin Foundation, London, U.K.(2008). Selected exhibitions include The Seventh Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, OCAT, Shen Zhen(2012); The Constructed Dimension, 2010 Chinese Contemporary Art Invitational Exhibition, National Art Musuem of China, Beijing(2010); Reshaping History: Chinart from 2000-2009, China National Convention Center, Beijing(2010).
WEI GUANGQING (b. 1963) was born in Huanshi, Hubei province. He resides and works in Wuhan. He often draws on ancient Eastern philosophy while borrowing Western pop-aesthetics in his artworks. In subverting the ancient classics, Wei Guangqing does not fully abandon tradition, but reminds viewers to recognise their entwined meaning in mainstream contemporary culture–in consumerism, politics and religion. Selected exhibitions includes: Wei Guangqing: Plus or Minus Zero, Hubei Museum of Art, Hubei (2015); Re-History, Chinese Contemporary Art Invitation Exhibition, Hubei Museum of Art, Wuhan (2012); Old Scriptures, Wei Guangqing Solo Exhibition, ShanghART H-Space, Shanghai (2008); Zuo Tu You Shi, Wei Guangqing’s Art Exhibition, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen (2007); 85 New Wave – The Birth of Chinese Contemporary Art, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2007).
XUE SONG (b. 1965) was born in Anhui Province. He graduated from the Shanghai Drama Institute, Stage Design Department in 1988 and resides and works in Shanghai. Xue Song is best known for his innovative integration of contemporary elements with elements manifested in the collective cultural memory. Xue Song’s distinctive collages represent the many different aspects of Chinese culture; he incorporates traditional Chinese paintings, ancient calligraphy, folk art, religious icons, legendary figures and historical photographs, effectively erasing any categorical imperatives. His methodology is one of appropriation, manipulation and subversion in order to create a subjective universe that manifests his personal memories and losses. He has exhibited widely since his first solo-exhibition in 1999. Recent exhibitions include The Mountain Echoes, ShanghART Singapore (2016); New World, XUE Song’s Works, K.Gallery, Chengdu (2015); The Fragment Time, Xi’an Art Museum, Xi’an (2013); XUE Song, New Shanghai Style Paintings, MoCA, Singapore (2013); Xue Song: Piercing Through History and the Fashion, A Retrospective from 1988-2011, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai (2011); A Fashion, Or the History?, The Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2010); Looking Back: Deconstruction Classics, Xue Song Portfolio, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai (2009); Xue Song Solo Exhibition, ArtChina, Hamburg, Germany (2007) etc.
Zhang Ding (b. 1980), was born in Gansu, China. He resides and works in Shanghai. Zhang Ding’s practice is mainly presented through his solo projects, which includes video, installations, paintings and live performance. His works play on ideas of sensory perception and will, constructing absurd scenes full of contrast, often creating metaphors layered with societal references. These may be seen as a series of deconstructed mise-en-scenes, or as an environmental sculpture of twisting and merging emotional atmospheres. Recent exhibitions include: Yinchuan Biennale—For an Image, Faster Than Light, MOCA Yinchuan, Yinchuan (2016); Enter the Dragon: Special Edition for Singapore, Gillman Barracks, Singapore(2016); ZHANG Ding: Devouring Time, RAM HIGHLIGHT 2016, Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai (2016); Enter the Dragon 2, chi K11 art museum, Shanghai(2016); ZHANG Ding-18 Cubes, Solo Project in Art Basel HK 2016 Encounter Section, Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong; Enter the Dragon, ICA London, UK (2015); Zhang Ding: Orbit of Rock, ShanghART, Beijing, China (2014); Orbit: Zhang Ding Solo Project, The Armory Show, Focus Section, New York, U.S.A. (2014); Gold & Silver, Zhang Ding Solo Exhibition, Galerie Krinzinger, Wien, Austria (2013); Meanwhile… Suddenly, and Then, the Biennale of Lyon, Lyon, France (2013); Perspectives 180 – Unfinished Country: New Video from China, the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston, USA (2012).
ZHANG ENLI (b. 1965) was born in Jilin Province. In 1989, he graduated from Wuxi Technical University and currently lives in Shanghai. He is a painter who depicts the world in the perspective of daily life, and devotes the same attention and passion into every single bucket, wardrobe and individual. Recent solo exhibitions include Gesture and Form, Firstsite, Colchester, U.K. (2017); Intangible, Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, Switzerland (2016); Self-Sustained, MOCA, Taipei(2015); ZHANG Enli, ShanghART Gallery H-Space and M50, Shanghai (2015). Zhang Enli’s work was also featured in The 1st Antarctic Biennale, Antarctic (2017); CHRE(E)S AMI(E)S, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2016); Jing Shen, The Act of Painting in Contemporary China, PAC-Milan museum of contemporary art, Italy (2015); The Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi, India (2012); ‘On Contemporary Era – The First Chinese Oil Painting Biennial’, The National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China (2012); ‘The 6th Curitiba Biennial: Beyond the Crisis’, Instituto Paranaense de Arte, Curitiba, Brazil (2011) and ‘10,000 Lives. The Eighth Gwangju Biennale’, Gwangju, Korea (2010).
About the exhibition
Dates: Aug 19, 2017 – Oct 22, 2017
Opening: Aug 19, 2017, 14:00, Saturday
Venue: ShanghArt Gallery
Courtesy of the artists and ShanghArt Gallery, for further information please visit www.shanghartgallery.com.