Devoting itself to closely following the development of contemporary art practices in China, Art+ Shanghai Gallery offers a selection of emerging and established Chinese artists at the upcoming Art Central HK 2017. After two consecutive years of successful participation in Art Central Hong Kong, Art+ Shanghai Gallery showcases works by 7 artists for this edition.
The chosen artists represent a careful selection of the well-established gallery artists such as Tamen duo, Ye Hongxing, Wang Haichuan and Yao Lu along with the young emerging artists that Art+ Shanghai Gallery identified as promising talents such as Hu Weiqi, Zhang Wei and Zhang Wen.
Artist collective Tamen has prepared a new series of meticulously done works this time providing a certain critique of the contemporary art market taunted by the tendency of commodification of art. More than a mirror, the canvases of Ye Hongxing are created according to the model of a kaleidoscope. Following a previously drawn picture on her computer, Ye Hongxing assembles stickers on her canvas. The lengthy process to put them together highlights the issue of time. Indeed, this gesture refers to mandala creation – it reminds her previous works about this element – and the meticulous process it involves. The canvas becomes a meditation medium in which the artist melts completely. Wang Haichuan’s is a Sichuan based artist whose most recent project is a set of acrylic paintings on Tibetan paper. The basis of this paper is a root of a local poisonous plant, which is known to be insect proof and long lasting - this led to it being used to write religious scripts or contracts. His works and the use of this material display communication with his spiritual self, as well as landscapes, architecture, patterns or human figures. Wang is painting quickly, as if he were capturing a dream on this spiritual paper, which is often difficult or even sometimes impossible to grasp. Wang Haichuan’s installation Seven Days was exhibited at the 11th Shanghai Biennale (2017). Yao Lu, the winner of Paris Photo 2008 prize for contemporary photography, has developed a recognizable technique of photomontage manipulations that borrow from classical Chinese aesthetic style of painting. His compositions mirror the influence of traditional Chinese mountain-and-water paintings. Ancient paintings recall a peaceful and poetic atmosphere with a Utopian ideal, while his “landscape” adds a contemporary touch dealing with the problems of (the) pollution, consumerism, idolization and the syndrome of the “spectacle society”.
The recently added Gallery’s artist Hu Weiqi has already received credits for his new series by having been chosen as part of Art Nova exhibition. Hu Weiqi draws attention to the oxymoronic situation of the saturated vacuum – places chock full of images and eye-catching headlines that are devoid of actual stories – what French theorist Debord defines as a “society of spectacle.” His works of painting present the complexity of China’s social environment (politically and culturally) by drawing special attention to the effects of its rapidly transitioning society. Using two bold colors to symbolize the inner conflicts experienced by the younger generation, Weiqi depicts the in-between position of a generation puzzled by the constant changes in their environment. Zhang Wen is another promising artist who has already won several Chinese New ink awards. Zhang Wen’s brushstrokes are simple and forthright. Her use of colour, tonal variation and colour saturation is reminiscent of traditional Chinese ink, and her exceptional composition and perspective reveals an uncommon intelligence. Her art has the distinctive feel and atmosphere of Chinese ink, yet at the same time is distinctive with her own intimately personal and experimental language. Finally, the artist Zhang Wei takes us to a more introspective sphere as his works present a certain aggregation of the long process of meditation rendered through the illusion of movement in the artworks. Using mineral paints and watercolor on canvas, his works trick the eye into seeing shadows and depth with soft gradients and shading. His geometric compositions are based on the idea of folding, overlapping, and layering, creating dimensionality that lies somewhere between the planar and spatial.