Young artists flaunt their works around the ‘Chinese pose’ at ongoing exhibitions in East China, Lin Qi reports.
A retrospective of the work of UK-born artist Anthony Stones in Beijing shows his intimate connections with China, where he lived for 15 years.
For nearly a decade, Beijing-based artist Liu Qing has zoomed in on the lives of urban dwellers with his lifesize installations.
The 34-year-old sculptor has produced copies of reallife situations, mostly from public spaces such as elevators, subway coaches or waiting halls of train stations.
In such scenes, he creates figures that are at once together and yet indifferent to each other, focusing on their own business — talking on the phone, sleeping or eating.
In his latest work Self-Servicing Ticketing, Liu shows a jammed bus on which migrant workers, office workers, young students and foreigners are tightly pressed together like salmon in a tin can. Their faces tell of a discomfort that would make them shout out at any moment. Some stretch out their hands for support but grab nothing.
Underneath the dramatic feel of his work, Liu presents a calm, insightful observation of people’s anxieties because of a breathless pace of life and remote interpersonal relationships thanks mostly to theweb addiction in today’s world.
Liu’s approach reflects a keen interest among many Chinese sculptors in responding to a changing world. The variety of their expressions shows a “Chinese pose” with which artists tell stories of contemporary society, according to Zeng Chenggang, a sculptor and the head ofChina Sculpture Institute, an academic organization under the Ministry of Culture.
“Chinese pose” is also the theme for the Fourth China Sculpture Exhibition, which has been organized by Zeng’s institute and runs at Shandong ArtMuseum, in Jinan of East China’s Shandong province, through Nov 13.
Some 100 works on show reveal the trends in style and technique over the past two years, and 60 percent of the featured artists are aged 36 or below.
The exhibition opened on Oct 18.
The displayed sculptures have been selected by a jury comprising artists and scholars from more than 1,500 applicants across the country. Liu’s work is among the top five pieces that won the most votes from judges.
The exhibition was launched in 2008 to discover up-and-coming artists who make multiple attempts at creation and in different ways. Liu’s works were displayed at the same exhibition in 2011 and 2013.
“I feel the show’s appraisal process has raised the threshold, but I also see young artists making successful entries here, which is encouraging for us,” Liu says. VanGoghAlive—TheExperience TheBedroom.
Zeng says the exhibition is providing a stage to young artists whose viewpoints are reshaping Chinese sculpture. Such artists are sensitive to social transformation and they translate their thoughts into the language of sculpture, he says, which is an outcome of economic and educational developments as well as the examination of Chinese culture by them.
In his shown work, 2016.2.29, Dawn, Sunny, Guangzhou-based artist Ke Jiamin, 32, hails the individuality of handicraft that was once replaced by factories but has won back people recently.
Ke displays a video of how he turned a piece of wood into a key over three hours. He also shows the tools he used, the key and a locker that viewers can unlock with the key.
“It was an experiment to see if I could sit peacefully and focus on a work that seemed boring,” Ke says.
“While industrialization has been rapid, I still believe there is space for a small studio where a man can devote time to handiwork, without much care about its commercial prospects.”
Zeng also notes that motivated by cross-disciplinary development, Chinese artists are adopting digital technology to create a strong chemistry between their works and the audience — bringing more “visual and spiritual stimulation” to people.
Xu Jinlong, a 27-year-old artist from Guangzhou, is interested in daily use items and he explores their relationship with people. His work
Distance of 0.2Meter is shown at the exhibition, in which he recycles discarded things such as an old bed, desks, chairs and posters, to re-create a room.
He has installed a sensor and wheels on some of the objects so when viewers come closer to them — within 20 centimeters — they will move away.
He hopes the old objects will awaken people’s memories of their childhoods, during which things were used and maintained for lengths of time thereby developing an intimacy with the users.
“I believe things get a soul after being manufactured. Despite being used or thrown away, they still embody an inner power that keeps reminding people of their value,” Xu says.
Also being held at the Shandong museum is the Eighth Sino-South Korean Sculpture Exchange Exhibition where dozens of works show the latest developments in South Korean art.
Han Jin-sub, president of the South Korea Sculpture Institute, notes that artists from his country and China are seeking to present features of their own cultures and origins, a move forward from the earlier generations that studied mainly Western artists.
He also says Chinese and South Korean artists are discussing ways in which sculptures can be linked more deeply with the lives of ordinary people.
The Fourth China Sculpture Exhibition runs at Shandong Art Museum through Nov 13. Works by up-and-coming artists are among the highlights of the show.
The ongoing exhibition in Rome features photographs and videos on the art of Vincent Van Gogh, including the painting