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Trilogy of Contemporary Art in China – The Scar

2020.9.25 – 2021.2.28
Song Dong, Zhu Jinshi, Liu Wei

Liu Weu, Merely a Mistake Ⅱ No.6, 2009-2011

The Chinese Economic Reform (改革開放 gaige kaifang, or ‘reform and opening up’) that began in the 1980s has led to China’s rapid growth, but this advancement has not come without the darker side of capitalism. Public outcry demanding democratization led to demonstrations like the Tiananmen Square protests, while income bipolarization was exacerbated. While the first generation of Chinese contemporary artists manifested a critical attitude towards the system and the government, the most recent trends have involved increasingly diverse responses to the Western modernism that young artists have been exposed to since the opening. In particular, we seek to not merely show a few important historical moments and their representative artistic styles, but provide a condensed overview of chronological developments starting from the Tiananmen Square protests, which represented an indelible turning point in modern Chinese history.

Song Dong, Scar, 2020

This exhibition also bears the title “Trilogy of Contemporary Art in China.” From Zhu’s Stars Group to Liu’s Post-Sense Sensibility Movement, while the gap between the three participating artists’ generations covers a span of less than 20 years, their sensibilities come from very diverse contexts, reflecting the extraordinary speed of social change in China, while all of them reveal the wounds from the swift social transformation caused by struggles for democratization, the influx of Western capitalism and the resulting urbanization. Subtitled “The Scar,” this exhibition presents three exemplary artists who work reflects the trauma that has stemmed from the struggle for freedom, from capitalism, and from the urbanization that resulted from China’s reform and opening up—three keywords essential for understanding contemporary Chinese art.

Zhu Jinshi, South-North, 2020

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