Antoine Helwaser Gallery is pleased to present Beyond Pop: A Panorama of Chinese Art. Highlighting a new generation of Chinese artists to the public in Paris, the exhibition aims to bring to the fore the revolutionary spirit that contemporary Chinese artists are bringing to international attention, particularly during the last few years.
The exhibition focuses on revealing new forms of contemporary Chinese Pop art, where narrative figuration plays a large role in many of the works on show. Many of the works on show place the figure in center stage, acquiring new meanings amidst their different contexts and settings. Combining a sensitivity to the figure with the sensuality and seductiveness of Pop aesthetics, the exhibition invites the visitor to contemplate the narratives emerging from the works themselves. Beyond Pop includes works such as Liu Bolin’s Road Stop (2007), highlighting the artist’s practice of creating “camouflage” installations, where the figure seemingly disappears into the background of the image. Hidden in plain sight, Liu’s technique of disguising the figure speaks to different conditions of invisibility, where the body can be seen simultaneously as both overwhelmed by the environment or embracing a certain oneness with it.
Other works include Hou Yong’s Nageur (2007). Dark and brooding, the image depicts a man swimming amidst an expanse of waves. Afloat in the water, the image appears calm, almost unremarkable. Similarly, Luo Qing’s Smoking (2007) depicts a portrait of a worker smoking in the back area of a commercial shop, surrounded by everyday paraphernalia and other vernacular objects. These works invite the viewer to probe past the surface of the works themselves; although seemingly banal, each of these works reveal tensions inherent within their image. In Hou Yong’s work, the image takes on a new sheen of ambiguity-- it is unclear if the figure is, indeed, sinking or swimming.
Beyond Pop includes the works of five contemporary Chinese artists who have exhibited widely both in China and abroad. Employing painting and photography, the exhibition shines the spotlight on their image-making practices and how each of them used the image to construct their own worlds. This exhibition is also accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with a foreword by Antoine Helwaser.