Barbara Pollack curates an exhibition of post-Mao Chinese art, currently on show at the Tampa Museum of Art.
The Tampa Museum of Art is holding an exhibition of emerging artists from post-Mao China until 28 September 2014. The show features the work of 27 young artists who explore life in contemporary China through individual points of view and unique works.
“My Generation: Young Chinese Artists” was launched on 7 June 2014 at the Tampa Museum of Art, Florida, United States and will be on show until 28 September. It will then travel to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, where it will be on view from 24 October 2014 through 18 January 2015. Curated by Chinese art expert Barbara Pollack, the exhibition is the first of its kind to focus only on China’s post-Mao generation.
The post-Mao generation
All of the artists in the exhibition were born in China after the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and after Mao’s death (1976). It is this aspect that sets this exhibition apart from other major showcases of contemporary Chinese art.
The YCAs (Young Chinese Artists), as Pollack refers to them, are not concerned with the politics of Communism or the Cultural Revolution unlike their predecessors or older peers. They are instead exploring and responding to the many facets of contemporary life in China, a country that has grown into one of the largest economic powers in the world in less than two decades.
The YCAs have grown up through the Chinese art boom, with galleries, auction houses, biennales, fairs and 1,000 new museums. They have engaged with their artistic careers right after art school.
The globalisation of the art market in China is visible in their works: other than exploring their individual lives and perspectives, they don’t try to emphasise any “Chinese-ness” to impress western audiences.
In the catalogue essay, Pollack says of the artists:
They are empowered, not only because they live in the fastest growing superpower in the world and are beneficiaries of its greatly expanding free market. They are empowered also because the art world has likewise been expanding globally during this period and seems poised to acknowledge them as fully-fledged art stars who have transcended the limitations of language and cultural differences.
Rebelling against commercialisation
At the opening of the exhibition, the curator told Whitehot Magazine that the exhibition represented new young artists from China who seemed to have grown up and inhabit a different country and a different century compared to the older generation of Chinese artists:
You have to really throw out stereotypes of Chinese contemporary art when you look at this work. These artists are rebelling against the commercialisation of China, which they see the older generation of artists having done.
The 27 artists in the exhibition are:
- Chen Wei
- Chi Peng
- Cui Jie
- Double Fly Art Center
- Fang Lu
- Guo Hongwei
- Hu Xiangqian
- Hu Xiaoyuan
- Huang Ran
- Irrelevant Commission
- Jin Shan
- Liang Yuanwei
- Liu Chuang
- Liu Di
- Lu Yang
- Ma Qiusha
- Qiu Xiaofei
- Shi Zhiying
- Song Kun
- Sun Xun
- Wang Yuyang
- Xu Zhen (MadeIn)
- Yan Xing
- Zhang Ding
- Zhao Zhao
- Zhou Yilun
Narratives and issues that the artists explore represent their individual styles and perspectives on life in contemporary China – whether they are examining and commenting on personal life or on broader political, economic and societal topics.
The variety of the artworks on show is extensive, for example, Birdhead’s photographic documentation explores life in Shanghai; Fang Lu’s personalised videos depict inevitable bodily changes and transformations in an era of plastic surgery; and Lu Yang’s multimedia works at the outer limits of new technology represent the frenetic pace of contemporary China.
C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia
- Chinese artist Xu Zhen: “Art can create a new culture” – interview – May 2014 – Xu Zhen who recently had a retrospective of his work at the UCCA in Beijing talks to Art Radar about his art practice, his vision of the artist and pushing boundaries
- No limits for Xu Zhen’s MadeIn Company – ZILLI video interview – April 2014 – in a video interview with French fashion house Zilli, Chinese artist Xu Zhen talks about exploring the meaning of creating art through “multifunctional art company” MadeIn
- Chinese contemporary art – where to find the most up-to-date news – April 2014 – in her third and final article on online Chinese contemporary art resources, curator Rachel Marsden gives a list of blogs and websites to follow in order to keep up to date with what’s going on in China’s art scene
- Crossing China in 7 cities – book review – March 2014 – China’s diverse art scene is brought together in Crossing China, a comprehensive overview spanning 25 years
- Chinese artists at Armory Focus 2014: Alexandre Errera’s watch list – March 2014 – Alexandre Errera, Founder and CEO of online platform Artshare.com, reveals to Art Radar his five favourite artists and artworks from the Armory Focus: China section at the Armory Show 2014 in New York
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