A con­tem­po­rary art ex­hi­bi­tion in Bei­jing shows the works of some 40 artists and pro­vides clues to fu­ture trends. Lin Qi re­ports.

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE -

As tech­nol­ogy en­riches forms of in­di­vid­ual ex­pres­sion, there are wor­ries that it will gain even more con­trol of peo­ple’s lives.

So, how will the re­la­tion­ship be­tween hu­mans and tech­nol­ogy evolve? How will hu­man so­ci­ety change as machines and ro­bots take on more man­ual jobs?

As peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence an ex­plo­sion of in­for­ma­tion, are they be­com­ing in­sen­si­tive to their sur­round­ings?

These top­ics are in the spotlight at a con­tem­po­rary art ex­hi­bi­tion now on at Min­sheng Art Mu­seum Bei­jing.

The third Ex­hi­bi­tion of An­nual of Con­tem­po­rary Art of China looks at these de­vel­op­ments in Chi­nese art in 2016, show­ing the works of some 40 artists and pro­vid­ing clues to fu­ture trends.

The artists are fea­tured in the lat­est is­sue of An­nual of Con­tem­po­rary Art of China, a book pub­lished by the Cen­ter for Vis­ual Stud­ies of Pek­ing Uni­ver­sity.

The book, which was re­leased at the open­ing of the ex­hi­bi­tion, show­cases the cen­ter’s ef­forts to mon­i­tor the con­tem­po­rary art scene.

It fea­tures events, ex­hi­bi­tions and artists’ cre­ations in 2016.

Since 2015, the cen­ter has col­lab­o­rated with the art mu­seum in Bei­jing to stage an ex­hi­bi­tion ev­ery year of art­works fea­tured in the an­nual publi­ca­tion.

The lat­est book says more than 3,780 con­tem­po­rary art ex­hi­bi­tions were held in the coun­try in 2016, an in­crease of nearly 200 com­pared with 2015.

The Min­sheng ex­hi­bi­tion fo­cuses on es­tab­lished artists, who have spear­headed the rise of Chi­nese con­tem­po­rary art, and also those whose works have re­ceived good re­views and mar­ket re­sponse.

The late artist Chen Shaox­iong’s work The View, a four­chan­nel video in­stal­la­tion, is on show.

It was also on show at Chen’s solo ex­hi­bi­tion at Bei­jing’s Tang Con­tem­po­rary Art Gallery, which ended on Nov 27 in 2016, a day af­ter Chen died.

Chen, a grad­u­ate of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, had co-founded Da Wei Xiang, an im­por­tant ex­peri-

11 am-6 pm, Mon­days closed, through Aug 3. Min­sheng Art Mu­seum Bei­jing, Uni­ver­sal Cre­ative Park, 9 Ji­ux­i­an­qiao Bei Lu, Chaoyang dis­trict, Bei­jing. 010-5323-2111.

men­tal art group in Guangzhou in the early 1990s.

His con­cep­tual works com­bine pho­to­graphs, videos, in­stal­la­tions and ink-brush paint­ings.

In his works, he ex­am­ined the chang­ing land­scape of Chi­nese ur­ban­iza­tion, and in­vited au­di­ences to re­flect on the manic and ridicu­lous as­pects of city life.

In The View, an­i­mated inkbrush paint­ings of day-to-day scenes, such as aban­doned rail­ways, bare tree branches and night views, are pro­jected on four stand­ing screens that form a cir­cle. When vis­i­tors stand be­fore the screens, their sil­hou­ettes be­come part of the works.

Chen once said: “What we see is not what we think. What we want to see is not what we are sup­posed to see.”

His wife Luo Qing­min says that in his last days, when he was sick, he was even more sen­si­tive to the sur­round­ing scenery, re­li­gion and life, and she says that Chen used the cir­cle of four screens to in­di­cate the cir­cle of life, “a time­less feel­ing like that of lights at night”.

Mean­while, new me­dia artist Tian Xiaolei from Bei­jing, who was born in 1982, takes a vis­ual ap­proach to ex­press­ing his un­der­stand­ing of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween peo­ple and their en­vi­ron­ment that has been re­shaped by tech­no­log­i­cal progress.

His work Eter­nity shows a 3-minute-long an­i­ma­tion.

He cre­ates “an imag­ined utopia”, in which there is no dis­tinc­tion be­tween a hu­man and a ro­bot: They work to­gether, they fight each other, and they fall in love.

With the as­sis­tance of vir­tual re­al­ity tech­nol­ogy, view­ers “en­ter” a sur­real world and “em­brace an un­cer­tain fu­ture for hu­man so­ci­ety”, says Tian.

Zhou Yan, who was the cu­ra­tor of Tian’s re­cent ex­hi­bi­tion in Toronto, says his out­put cel­e­brates so­cial land­scapes that have been trans­formed by com­put­ers, mo­bile phones and the in­ter­net, but also re­veal the anx­i­eties and lone­li­ness deep in peo­ple’s hearts.

Zhu Qing­sheng, the Min­sheng ex­hi­bi­tion cu­ra­tor and a his­tory pro­fes­sor at Pek­ing Uni­ver­sity, says that while the an­cient Chi­nese saw clas­sic moun­tain-and-wa­ter paint­ings as “wo you (bed travel)”, mean­ing that one could en­joy land­scapes by look­ing at paint­ings and not leave home, in the modern world peo­ple no longer need the paint­ings.

“The in­ter­net has turned the world into a net­work of in­for­ma­tion that con­nects peo­ple even more closely than how peo­ple con­nected with na­ture ear­lier,” Zhu says.

He says while “bed travel” moved peo­ple with beau­ti­ful land­scape, today there is a new form of that travel — ac­ces­si­ble in­for­ma­tion through all kinds of de­vices — that is in­vad­ing peo­ple’s lives.

Zhu Qing­sheng, cu­ra­tor of the show

Con­tact the writer at linqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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