Sun Ce, Moving Mountains and Water No. 21, 2012; Oil on canvas, 105x75cm

… in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always –
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing no less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well.
-Thomas Stearns Eliot, Little Gidding, in Four Quartets

The BRIC Art Space will host an exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Art starting from 30 August to 15 October in Todi (Italy). Todi, between Florence and Perugia, is one of the most distinguished locations in Italy. This town far away from the international metropolises, is firmly rooted in the history, in the past. Yet it shows as well an unusual ability to look steadily ahead, towards the future, as the recent setup of a further international gallery, Bibo’s Gallery, shows. In 1991 Richard S. Levine, Professor of Architecture in the University of Kentucky (US), selected Todi as an eminent model of “sustainable city”, because of its scale and its ability to re-invent itself over time. Since that time most of the international press still considers Todi as the world’s most livable city. It is exactly such a movement, such going back from past to present, and from present to future, together with the movement from local to global, which characterizes the artistic program of BRIC Art.

The artists that BRIC Art has selected are respectively Cao Jigang, Guan Jingjing, Sun Ce and Tian Xiaolei. They have included as well a subsection comprising three young artists coming from the Art Department of Tsinghua University: Chen Yu, Sun Moqing and Wen Le. The exhibition intends to offer to scholars, collectors and, generally speaking, to the widest audience a comprehensive vision of an artistic effort that is less known in Italy but that is gaining increasing interest in Asia, US and Europe.

As the poet Zhao Ye has recently written about China, “…the situation we face is that the nation survives, but the land has died. Our civilization was wounded long ago, leaving behind only the setting sun in the west wind”. As it happens in most countries all over the world, materialism, consumerism, increasing industrialization processes, devastate the environment and raze the past to the ground for erecting towers, commercial areas, industrial plants. History is more and more absent, nature is more and more devastated. These are the main issues that these artists are dealing with: the disappearance of nature together with the disappearance of the memories of the past.

Their art is substantially and formally distant from the Western-inspired styles of most of the Chinese Contemporary art, at least the one that has received more attention from the Western world. A number of features of these artists make them extremely interesting, we would say exciting. All the artists exhibited in Todi are drawing on ideas coming from their own philosophical tradition and their own spirituality. All these artists prefer to question the meaning of their own existences for defending themselves against the false lives derived from the dominating materialistic trend. All of them look at artistic creation as a process of self-awareness, an enduring patient examination of the constant flux of thoughts, perceptions, emotions that make life. It is the sati of the Buddhist practice. The translation “self-awareness” does not fully preserve the connection with the original meaning of the Pali word sati meaning specifically memory or retention. The past of Chinese civilization is the past of the mind. Self-awareness implies as well retention, memory of the past. This is why BRIC Art has decided to show their works in Europe. They firmly believe that they represent the future of Contemporary Chinese Art. They represent this extraordinary movement from past to present, and from present to future, together with the movement from local to global, that makes art really contemporary.

Text by Filippo Fabrocini

About BRIC Art Space

BRIC Art Space is a contemporary art space located in Beijing and Italy. As the acronym says, the BRIC Art Space will be mainly dedicated to art from Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRIC countries) , the BRIC Art Space will focus its own attention as well to other emerging countries metaphorically adjacent to the BRIC ones. BRIC Art Beijing Space is coming soon in 798 Art Zone.

About the exhibition

Duration: Aug 30 – Oct 15 2014

Venue: The BRIC Art Space

Artists: Cao Jigang, Guan Jingjing, Sun Ce, Tian Xiaolei / Chen Yu, Sun Moqing, Wen Le

Curator: Filippo Fabrocini

Address: Corso Cavour 57-59, 06059 Todi (PG),  Italy

Courtesy of the artists and The BRIC Art Space.

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