Chinese artists in a time of turbulence and transformation
27 January – 2 May 2016
This exhibition will present a limited selection of twelve very dierent artists, twelve strong individualities. They share not only the ability to live and work in what is a particularly fast-moving world of “turbulence and transformation,” but also a tendency to use multiple means of expression, combining tools supplied by local traditions with the latest sophisticated technologies.Responding with striking swiness, their work mirrors the new realities of today’s China, as manifested in the economy, the environment, cities and international relations, showing a strong awareness of the changing relations between town and country aer the great rural exodus.
The term chosen for the exhibition title, bentu, meaning native soil, is at the heart of their concerns and of the ideas being explored by contemporary Chinese critics and researchers (see the text by the two curators in the catalogue). In this specific context, bentu evokes the way in which artists have discovered and found their place in countries around the world, the better to return to their “homeland” with a strengthened sense of self.
The video by Hu Xiangqian introducing the exhibition is resonant: graceful and carefree, a woman dances alone in a park, supremely unperturbed by the indierence of the crowd as she affirmsherself as an individual.
Most of the artists in this show belong to the thirty-something generation. The age dierences (from 28 to 51) are in themselves significant in a country remarkable for the fascinatingly fast rotation of generations and their successive tendencies. The bulk of the works shown in the special hanging of the Fondation Collection are by artists from the earlier generation.
That said, there are four artists - Cao Fei, Yang Fudong, Tao Hui, Xu Zhen - who appear in both shows, even if the works in question are oen highly diverse.