Shanghai Mingyuan Art Museum is holding its new exhibition "Delight in the Invisible: Abstract Narrative of Momentary", a curated showcase of multi-media artworks that capture the fleeting nature of abstract thought and momentary cognition. Twenty-seven esteemed artists present their thought-provoking pieces, offering visitors a chance to explore China's contemporary art scene and its potential.
Shanghai has long been hailed as the "city of Chinese abstract art," thanks to its impressive collection of renowned abstract artists, who are among the most prominent and recognized in the country.
The exhibition features a number of big names in the abstract field, including Wang Jieyin, Shang Yang, Yu Youhan, Liang Shaoji, Ding Yi, Liu Jianhua, Zhang Enli, and Song Dong, among others, who are among the most influential voices shaping contemporary Chinese art today. Their works are highly acclaimed both nationally and internationally.
Wang's artistic creations have always been centered around nature, including landscapes, mountains, flowers, and birds. This has been true whether he was working on his early prints, then oil paintings, or his recent traditional Chinese paintings. The 82-year-old has discovered, awakened, and illuminated the beauty of nature, transforming it from objective objects into subjective expressions, imbued with humanistic aesthetic connotations.
His work "Water scenery" in ink and wash on display is filled with dots, transforming into various unimaginable images. There was no prior plan or sketch, as if the dots were spontaneously growing on their own.
The process of painting took a considerable amount of time, and it is during this time that the power of transformation becomes evident. It all bears the mark of time's significant influence.
Artist Liang has been conducting silk farming experiments, closely observing the entire process of the tiny lives undergoing metamorphosis since 1989. When the silkworms spun their cocoons, he stayed vigilant by their side, often spending sleepless nights. One day, Liang lay on the ground in the silkworm room, and a silkworm dangled beside his shadow. Upon this discovery, he questioned: "Am I not like a silkworm?"
This revelation inspired his creation of "The Bed," which is being exhibited. He crafted the bed frame from burnt-out engine coils, allowing silkworms to inhabit it, spin silk, weave cocoons, and propagate, year after year. As a tribute to the new century, he presented it at the 48th Venice Biennale in the year 2000.
Liang metaphorically uses silk to symbolize the threads of life and destiny, appearing both segmented and continuous, softening the rigid, while the semi-transparent silk fabric generates a dreamlike atmosphere.
The artwork "Family Tree" by Zhang Huan is a series of nine photographs, documenting an performance by the artist where his face is covered with texts written in black ink until the ink renders his features blurred.
As the text gradually fills in his entire face, the written words become increasingly indiscernible, eventually merging into a solid black. Zhang appears stern, while in the final image, his gaze appears more piercing against the backdrop of his completely inked face.
Zhang resided in New York from 1998 to 2006, and this performance took place in a city park during that time. Throughout the day, three calligraphers wrote on his face, drawing inspiration from Chinese legends and the art of observing physiognomy. Some of the texts included names and stories familiar to Zhang.
In this performance in New York, the artist unraveled the intricate threads of his own narrative, leaving the viewer to reflect on the profound interplay between personal history and cultural identity.
Date: through January 28, 2024
Venue: Shanghai Mingyuan Art Museum
Address: B1, Block A, 1199 Fuxing Rd M.