For its first Group Show in the Year of the Rat Chinese Contemporary is pleased to show works by the artists Zhang Dali, Lin Tianmiao, the Luo Brothers, Xue Song, Huang Yan, Wu Junyong, Li Li and Shi Guorui. With these artists’ broad range of mediums and methods, Chinese Contemporary looks to greet the New Year with a fresh look at the dynamism and breadth of China’s contemporary art.
Zhang Dali’s emotionally charged AK-47 portraits of migrant workers overlaid with the words AK-47 aim to give voice to the masses of Chinese who enable China’s cities and economy’s rapid growth but who are subsequently reviled by society.
Two Luo Brothers’ resin sculptural works display a fascination with blending the new cultural markers and the old. Famous for their kitschy creations, the Luo Brothers look to pudgy babies and Coke cans as a means to express the convergence of western consumerism with the traditional Chinese notions of prosperity and success. Through his two lithographs of collages Che Guavera and Big Star, Xue Song has also appropriated figures from popular Western culture and has translated them onto his own visual language. Each fragment of the collage is chosen carefully for its image or piece of text, imbuing the whole with a forceful statement on the place of these figures in a post-Mao era.
Wu Junyong and Li Li serve as representatives of a new generation of contemporary artists who came to maturity during the years when modernization and commercialization were pushed to the forefront of China’s national consciousness. Wu Junyong’s ink on paper drawings offer a cynical satire of this new state, where figures are suspended in mid-air, caught in circus trick positions in a space devoid of any solid footing. Through her oil paintings, Li Li is also interested in the way cartoons allow for an expression of social sentiment. On her canvases imaginative creatures with disproportionate body parts are engrossed in bloody, gruesome acts such as tearing out hearts. Yet done under the guise of cuteness, the images are rendered ridiculous, silly even.
Finally, Shi Guorui’s unique camera obscura prints provide a surreal vision of two of China’s most populated cities, Shanghai and Beijing, by capturing the structures devoid of human activity. Through his pin hole camera, pedestrians are erased and clouds vanish from the sky, leaving behind an almost x-ray like apparition of a post-apocalyptic steel city.