Cool Chinese Contemporary Art
Art from the PRC – ‘China’s Revision’ and Pomo Pioneers
Deng Xiaoping’s ‘reform and opening-up policies’ of the late 1970s gave artists the opportunity to explore art from around the world, along with the possibility to work independently of state sanctioned ‘Socialist Realist’ dogmas. An explosion of different styles and experimental methods followed both within China and by Chinese artists living abroad.
The Stars Group, which included Ai Weiwei, produced works spanning several different Western avant-garde styles, while the Xiamen Dada group created enigmatic works that subverted the logic of modernization and social conformity.
The ‘85 New Wave culminated in the 1989 ‘China Avant-Garde‘ exhibition, which was shut down by the state after two days when Xiao Lu (above pointing a pistol) shot a bullet into her own sculpture. The early 1990s saw the ascendancy of two styles that engaged in razor sharp cultural critiques: Political Pop and Cynical Realism, as well as the performance-oriented East Village movement in Beijing.
More recent movements include the Post-70s Ego Generation, which consists of young artists raised under China’s One Child policy who tend to take the self as the dominant unit of analysis rather than ‘the collective.’ Many contemporary Chinese artists, however, such as Cai Guo-Qiang, Ai Weiwei and Huang Yulong most brazenly, continue to take broader social issues and traditions as the basis for their work. Here are a few Chinese creatives we really love…
Chen Man – Fashion Photography – 陈漫 – 2014
Zhang Xiaogang – My Ideal – 张晓刚 – 2008
Fang Lijun – Engraving – 方力钧 – 2016
Yue MinJun – Floating – 岳敏君 – 2013
Zhang Huan – Foam – 張洹 – 1998
Huang Yulong – Bronze Buddhas – The Party – 黄玉龙 – 2015
Zeng Fanzhi – 曾梵志 – From 1830 – 2014
Zhang Pei Li – 张培力 – Focal Distance – Video Art – 1996
Images courtesy of the artists above
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