21st Century China. Art between Identity and Transformation
Curated by Zhu Qi e Morgan Morris
February 19th - may 18th 2008
The aim of the exhibition is to offer the Italian public a close encounter with contemporary Chinese art through recent works by some exceptional contemporary artists: Cao Fei, Chen Chieh-Jen, Fang Lijun, Liu Xiaodong, Qiu Anxiong, Sun Yuan + Peng Yu, Wang Du, Wang Qingsong, Weng Fen, Yang Fudong, Yang Yong, Yang Zhenzhong, Yan Lei, Yin Zhaoyang, Zeng Fanzhi and Zheng Guogu, which is to say leading exponents of the latest generations who have all achieved important international acknowledgement. Artists who in their work reflect on the impact that current society has on personal experience and denounce the alienation of individuals in the modern urban environment.
A new sensibility in Chinese art began to take shape around 1995, side by side with the birth of the "double-sex society", which is to say a society in which communism and capitalism coexisted, a result of the great social transformation of China that began, in fact, in the mid 90's and was of unprecedented importance in the country's history. A system that has no counterpart anywhere else in the world and is the result of a series of reforms that involved every aspect of society and deeply altered the landscape and urban layout. The rapid urbanisation of Chinese society, formerly based on agriculture, led to the spreading of mass culture through the free flow of international capital, use of the internet and an acceleration and intensification of population mobility. Many artists got into close dialogue with those changing parts of society and were attentive to the new media. What emerged from their work was a new social and urban landscape: soaring architecture, images of mass consumption, chaotic social order, nihilism and hyperrealism....
This initial trend was gradually transformed and developed into new visual experiences. The work of certain artists emphasises exploration of the self, reflection on personal identity and how this has been modified by the advent of new social conditions. In this context art takes up the redeeming position of a counter-reaction to the changes in social, cultural and political structures.