Art Nova 100 offers young artists showcase for their talents
Ever since it was launched in 2011, Art Nova 100, a Beijingbased institution which promotes young artists, mostly aged 35 and below, has helped more than 200 artists find galleries and more than 150 hold their first solo exhibitions.
For Zhao Li, a professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, who founded the platform, introducing these newcomers to galleries and art curators is only a part of Art Nova 100’s commitment. He also hopes to make them more widely known, by showing their works at spaces that receive a lot of visitors.
That is why the institution started its Art Nova 100 Opening Exhibition at a temporari- ly-built hall in Ditan Park in the heart of the capital city six years ago.
The annual exhibition shows some 100 artists selected from several hundred applicants across the country. It also tours other cities including Nanjing, Chongqing and Hong Kong.
This year’s exhibition is now on at the Today Art Museum, showing paintings, sculptures, installations, videos and newmedia artworks.
“Usually young artists’ productions are not as serious as that of established ones,” says Zhao. “And a popular public museum like Today Art links viewers to contemporary art and its creators.”
The ongoing exhibition, titled Rebuild & Transition, shows two categories of works. If you go One exhibits artists who were featured in previous shows and who have achieved some note, such as oil painter Ju Ting, sculptor Wang Enlai and new-media artist Tian Xiaolei.
Zhao says the current exhibition showcases how they are “restructuring” their visual vocabularies following initial success.
The other section shows up-and-coming artists who, Zhao says, are in the middle of a “transition”.
Some artists give tours of their works on show during the exhi- bition, which enables them to benefit from viewer feedback.
In addition to mounting the exhibitions, Art Nova 100 also organizes a residency project.
Its first attempt was a 40-day residency in Lijiang, Yunnan province, earlier this year where many artists participated in and learned the Dongba text, an ancient pictorial language of the Naxi ethnic group.
Zhao says the next residency will be in Ordos, in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, where hand-weaving and dying techniques could inspire young artists.
He says Art Nova 100 also plans a residency in Lishui, Zhejiang province, where artists can draw inspiration from the rural landscape.
Speaking about the artists, he says: “Unlike their predecessors, the new generations boast a broader vision — many study and live abroad for years — and they are more express- ive and confident. Still, they need to turn to their cultural roots, where they will find something enlightening, something they have overlooked for a long time.”
Joachim Pissarro, a member of the selection committee who teaches art history at Hunter College of the City University of New York, says he has discovered many accomplished artists of the present generation, although their names are not well known yet.
He says these artists will promote art worldwide, and adds: “Once we all begin to see what’s coming out of China, we will understand that the art scene in China is ... far more complex, interesting and exciting than the perception we have in the West.”
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Art Nova 100’ s ongoing exhibition looks to find an audience for young artists and their works.