Hu Xiangqian ¢xLi Ming ¢xLi Mu ¢xTang Dixin ¢xZhao Zhao
23.01.2010 ¡V 07.03.2010
Press Preview: 22.01.2010, 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Opening Reception: 22.01.2010, 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Decades of political pop art, cynical realism has realm as a main symbol of contemporary Chinese art, which will remain part of the history that will after decades be re-evaluated for its actual position in contemporary art in China. The China boom on the international arena did not help much for contemporary Chinese art on a long run. The state, in the meantime, changes their attitude towards contemporary art, opening dialogues, a game where artists¡¦ role is still very much uncertain. Commercial system that runs art system in China is still very much oriented to acclaimed names and prices, leaving not much space for anything else. Local investment is also minimal and knowledge is limited to auction house sales and secondary markets.

Thus, a new generation of artists in China today occupies a peculiar position. Weary of academy traditions, the overkill of political pop and cynical realisms, yet keenly aware and critical of contemporary phenomenon, these artists often possess strong individual expressions whose works create small waves, albeit contained within a close-knitted art circle and are less talked about nor circulated. The emergence of artist groups such as Shuang Fei, Shufu, and Observation Society; and collective activities such as Small Production, and Jump seem to suggest a need for a stronger collective voice, which are not taken seriously or which some may dismiss as being ¡¥comfort zones¡¦ for the insecure.

Biography is a selective examination of these ¡¥individual expressions¡¦. The artists included in this exhibition¡XHu Xiangqian, Li Ming, Li Mu, Tang Dixin, and Zhao Zhao¡Xbelong to a new generation of artists whose works are arguably symptomatic of the youths in China today: alternately personal, rebellious, indifferent, absurd¡K

Free from the burden of previous generations, many of the works in the exhibition are reflexive, autobiographical, and prankish. Above all, there is a desire to communicate: Li Ming examines our relationship with our bodies, physical intimacy, and further explores the ambiguous relationship between men (an instinctual physical attraction tinged with awkward intimacy); Li Mu sends a monthly gift to a stranger whose namecard he found on the street, establishing a connection yet stops short of any real acquaintance; Hu Xiangqian wrote a diary made up of a language he invented, dances in the middle of a road, and tries to transform himself into a black man; Tang Dixin peddles art on the street, and travels with someone he can¡¦t communicate linguistically; Zhao Zhao¡¦s works questions the existing art system and its values, as well as its relation to society, through transforming famous works of art into lowly objects such as toothpicks, or otherwise elevate rat droppings into an object of preciousness.

Through a comprehensive selection of works from various stages of the artists¡¦ development, the exhibition attempts at examining their artistic practice thus far, at the same time offering an opportunity for evaluation. More importantly, it aims to illuminate these individual expressions as more than just meaningless play borne out of boredom. This is a generation of artists capable of creating ripples; not that brave, without much open protests, tests the limits between protest and prank, yet through their actions takes on a crucial role in contemporary Chinese art today.

Press preview for the exhibition will be held on Friday, 22 January 2010 from 5:00pm to 6:00pm. The artists will be present at the event. The press preview will be followed by an opening reception at 6:00pm.