The Art of Modern China

Shifting Permanence presents a selection of contemporary Chinese artists from the Chengdu Blue Roof Museum, which houses one of the most significant collections of contemporary art in China.

The museum is committed to promoting Chinese contemporary art and this selection of artists highlights how Chinese artists engage with the rapidly changing Chinese landscape through performance art, installation, photography and video art.

“The exhibition’s perspective is based on the urbanisation of the fast developing China, where an individual artist’s feeling is quite different from group experiences,” curator Ding Fenqi says.

Influences cited by the curator include: “the faster pace of change, differentiation of village and town landscape, different experiences between normality and abnormality, physical freedom and discipline of the social system, as well as the cynicism and seriousness of the attitudes towards these phenomena.”

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Tong Wenmin, Play with the Wind, 2016 (screenshot)

Shifting Permanence reflects the current contemporary art scene in China with artists who are at the forefront of the growing sector. While the artists are focused on a modern China and their artworks express their experiences and emotions within a growing and changing culture, local audiences will be able to identify with the global issues explored.

“Their expression is quite audience-friendly and full of emotion, which shows that they are quite concerned with modern China,” Fenqi says. “These concerns are, to some extent, a reflection of human shared experiences. I believe that such an exhibition is quite easy to understand with universal values.”

Shifting Permanence also reflects the territorial difference that can be seen across the vast regions of China. It’s a large country with a huge population and thus contemporary art differs from area to area.

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Tong Wenmin, Play with the Wind, 2016 (screenshot)

The exhibition includes a selection of video works such as the engaging Fresh Air by Tong Wenmin and 4000 Miles by Zhou Bin. It also features the work of photographer Zhang Kechun who has documented life along the Yellow River. The river has been plagued with flooding, pollution and destruction caused by the modernisation of China.

Fenqi hopes Shifting Permanence will introduce audiences to the next wave of contemporary artists coming out of China, particularly those born in the 1980s.

“Younger artists do deserve more attention, especially those born in the 1980s, who have a better educational background, information channels, confidence and financial conditions,” he says. “Many artists and curators born between 1985 and 1990, with their overseas educational background, can make a great contribution to the internationalisation of Chinese contemporary art.”

Shifting Permanence
Artspace Gallery
Thursday, September 7 to Saturday, October 7
ozasiafestival.com.au

Header image: Tong Wenmin, Play with the Wind, 2016 (screenshot)

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