Poster of New HistoricaI Drama 598x405 - Tang Contemporary Art announces “New Historical Drama” opening on May 12

Curated by Cui Cancan, the show will feature eighteen artists: Cai Dongdong, Fang Lijun, Feng Mengbo, Ge Fei, Guan Huaibin, He Yunchang, Li Songhua, Liu Zheng, Qin Ga, Qu Yan, Song Yonghong, Sui Jianguo, Wang Du, Wang Ningde, Wang Qingsong, Xia Xing, Zhang Dali, and Zhao Liang.

“New Historical Drama” is an exhibition comprised of classic historical works, as well as current happenings and contemporary adaptations. The name comes from a series of operas depicting historical figures and events written after the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949. This new form required playwrights to take a scientific view of history. They had to “excel at screening, analyzing, and utilizing related historical materials or legends. They also had to make fair and reasonable use of their artistic imaginations to shape vivid and lifelike artistic figures and make authentic combinations of historical and artistic truth. They had to make the past serve the present.”

All history is contemporary history. Our understanding of the impact of history and cultural movements not only encompasses the reflection on and rethinking of past social experience, but it is also the foundation on which present society moves toward the future, playing a strong role in constructing reality. The exhibition presents 18 works from different regions, realities, and historical periods, spanning photography, sculpture, video, woodcut prints, and documentation.

The methods in the works become the subject of this “new writing.” The works are realized in the present day, the basis for their selection and adaptation. Taking on the dual threads of realism and romanticism, the artists borrow descriptions of collective living and a specific artistic era. By expressing emotion intermingled with reality, and through learning from the past in the present or using the past to allude to the present, these works convey the concerns of the present moment.

“New Historical Drama” attempts to combine historical research with participation in present discussions, mixing past and present and highlighting the associations between the people and things of the past and those of the present. These associations transform the 18 works into 18 mirrors, delineating the true drama amongst these mirrors. The social institutions and collective memories that lie behind historical groups use history as an explicit reference to delve into rich meanings.

About the exhibition

Dates: May 12, 2018 – Jun 30, 2018

Opening: May 12, 2018, 16:00, Saturday

Venue: Beijing 2nd Space, Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing

Courtesy of the artists and Tang Contemporary Art, for further information please visit

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