Zeng Fanzhi exhibition in Beijing

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From September 19, through November 19, 2016, Ullen Center in Beijing will host a new solo exhibition called “Parcours” by Zeng Fanzhi.
This is his first institutional solo show in Beijing curated by Philip Tinari and Guo Xi and branded as his most prolific show held so far. Sixty artworks sourced from collections around the world. The exhibition moves seamlessly from early experiments in realism through a series of muted, masked figures following his arrival on the Beijing scene in the mid-1990s, onward to the strikingly coloured and monumentally scaled canvases that signal his international emergence after 2000, and arriving at the antiquarian serenity of rigorously perceptive works on paper of his own making in the current decade.

Anyone visiting Beijing should not miss this exhibition.

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Abstraction on Chinese Contemporary Art

Jiang Zhi 2016

White Cube Mason’s Yard in London is currently having a group exhibition titled “The world is yours, as well as ours”, which focus on the work of nine contemporary Chinese artists to explore modes of abstraction in Chinese contemporary painting.
While abstraction in the Western world only began with the age of Modernism, it has been used for longer Chinese art, having developed through the influences of calligraphic aesthetics and Taoist philosophy. This exhibition involves artists from different generations. There can be clear distinction of expression between those born during the 1940-60’s, who are looking at western influence, but still linked to Chinese traditional culture, and those born in the 1970’s onward, whose starting point equals the same generation in the West.
White Cube’s Gallery director in Hong Kong Ms Laura Zhou explains ” Chinese traditions such as Taoism and Zen Buddhism are extremely abstract and refer to nothingness and an emptiness. This can be felt by the artists we show like Youhan, Tang Guo, Qin Yifen and Xhou Li.
Chinese artists do not work under the linear framework of artistic evolution. In this regard, abstraction to them is one of the many parallell styles rather than an independent style. To put it in another way, though what they create is abstract, they never consider themselves as abstract artists.
Jiang Zhi’s above image is taken by inspiration from the “system errors” of a computer screen, rendered in large scale to create complex patterns and forms. His work is very Western in expression but with the inner spirit of Chinese culture.

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Chinese Authorities made Ai Weiwei Famous

Ai-Weiwei

On a recent interview with the Swiss Newspaper Neue Zurcher Zeitung in conjunction with his exhibition at the Austrian 21er Haus, an contemporary art branch of Vienna Belvedere Museum, in which he declared that the Chinese state made him famous. The artist recalled a conversation with the Chinese secret police in which he admitted that with the power that the police represent ” I would never have become what I am today”. However, he denies that it is the only contributing factor to his success but with his sustained criticism of the Chinese state and his treatment by the 81-day imprisonment made him famous. As an activist you should express your opinion through art and not only think of sales at their gallery. But choosing not to speak up is also a political decision. His work deals heavily with the transfer of ideas, ” it is always about communication about events and views, aesthetics play a secondary role in my work”.

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Centre Pompidou appoints Curator Yung Ma

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Centre Pompidou has appointed Yung Ma as Curator of the Paris museum’s Contemporary and Prospective Creation Department for 3 years with the aim of expanding and promoting the museum’s focus on Chinese contemporary art. This is a result from the partnership between the museum and K11 Foundation in Shanghai. He is a curator of contemporary art and previously an Associate Curator at M+ in Hong Kong. He has also curated the HK pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2009 and 2013). His task will be to identifying outstanding young artists from Greater China. The Centre Pompidou is opening more and more to the globalisation and diversity of the world art scenes.
Major Chinese artworks were added to the collection of the Pompidou as recently as May 2015 when five new works by contemporary artists Xu Zhen, Ding Yi, Zhang Enli and Zhao Yang were donated to the museum. This collaboration will definitely elevate a number of programs presenting Chines contemporary art.

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Liu Xiaodong new show called “Migration”

Liu Xiaodong

Liu Xiaodong, well-known Chinese contemporary artist opens a new exhibition in Florence, where he puts the European Migrant crisis into his art. The collection features a total of 182 multi-themed works including paintings, photography, photo-painting and a video documentary. Liu spent some time in Italy and the result is a thought minded collection that is partly an illustrated diary of the artists trips and impressions from Florence to the frontline of the migrant crisis and partly a reflection on the nature of migration itself. The migrations show two extremes from certain parts where it is not seen and others were it is a reminder of people fleeing from war and misery.
Liu says ” Even though migration has been an integral part of the history of humanity, this huge wave, this influx of refugees has definitely caused some problems for European society”.
” Liu does not make a judgement, he just presents the reality with his unique technique, often seen in the past from the Chinese daily life at countryside.
The exhibition lasts until June 19th and sponsored by Florence’d innovative Palazzo Strozzi Foundation.

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2016 Asia Arts Award Winners

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In conjunction with Art Basel HK last week, Asia Society hosted an awards gala named the Asia Arts Game Changers. Cai Guo-Qiang form China, Nalini Malani from India and Yoshitomo Nara from Japan was recognised for the Asia Arts Awards for their “artistic excellence and contributions to Asian art”. Winners in the past have been Lee Ufan from South Korea, Takashi Murakami from Japan and Nyoman Masriadi from Indonesia.
Cai, an artist perhaps best known for his performances in which he paints by exploding gunpowder, expressed his gratitude to receive the Asia Arts Award and mention that it gives me more faith in what I do, knowing that I can continue to “mess around boundlessly”. Equally excited to be winning an award was Japanese artist Nara, known for his paintings with wide-eyed children at once sinister and vulnerable. Indian artist Nalini Malani spared a thought for those less fortunate than the assembled art world luminaries.
Congratulations to the winners!

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Christo’s New Project “The Floating Piers”

Christo floating_piers

This blog covers mostly Chinese art news but occasionally I like to inform the readers about other artists. This time it is Christo’s new large-scale project in Lake Iseo in Italy called “The Floating Piers” (http://www.thefloatingpiers.com). This is the first project he will finish after his wife Jeanne-Claude passed away in 2009. The floating piers will extend across the water of Lake Iseo, creating a 3 kilometers walkway that will enable visitors to walk from Sulzano to Monte Isola and to the island of San Paolo, which it encircles. According to the artist, over 70,000 square meters of shimmering yellow fabric, carried by a modular floating dock system of 200,000 high-density polyethylene cubes, will undulate with the movement of the waves as “Floating Piers” rise just above the surface of the water.
Artworks related to this project is presently exhibited at Galerie Gmurzynska in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

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The project is planned to be launched in Italy in the summer of this year from June 18 to July 3. Should be worth a visit if you like Christo’s large scale projects. They do not appear very often.

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