Friday, January 11, 2008

Blog It: New Wave of New Wave

Blog It: New Wave of New Wave

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Zhang Jungang, Love 4, 2004, C print.

BEIJING.-Chambers Fine Art Beijing is pleased to announce the opening on January 19th, 2008 of Blog It: New Wave of New Wave. Curated by Leo Xu, this exhibition brings together the work of four young artists – Guo Hongwei, Tang Yi, Shi Jing and Zhang Jungang - who work in three traditional disciplines, painting, drawing and photography. Although the four artists work in widely different styles and have divergent interests, Xu observes that they all belong to a generation in which rigid categorization has been broken down by the omnipresence of the internet. Rivaling any formal training they might have received is the free-wheeling deluge of texts, pictures, sound and video available in the era of Web 2.0 and blogging.

As Xu observes: “Today from the Internet community to ordinary citizens, it is not only language that finds itself drastically revolutionized by the spawning abbreviations and acronyms as well as Internet slang and rhetoric, but also the diversity of art and culture which is made possible with the efforts of this blogging community throughout the world. Living through this Web 2.0 age, a younger generation of Chinese artists, whether they blog or just read blogs, are thrilled to be able to speak in their own voices, whilst they may still keep learning to survive amidst tides of the refreshing aesthetics and concepts which were and probably are not shared by their precursors.”

Rejecting the strident manner and political content of many of the generation of painters who emerged after the ’85 New Wave movement, painters such as Guo Hongwei and Shi Jing create works that are hauntingly ambiguous in content. Guo Hongwei’s monochromatic painted images of adolescents are blurred by washes of oil and water and achieve effects reminiscent of faded family albums. Shi Jing chooses distinctive motifs – the holy mountain Kangrinboqe in one canvas, a Rembrandt self-portrait in another – but elects to obscure their familiarity by painting in closely related ranges of tones so that the image is only visible from certain angles, appearing and disappearing as the spectator walks past.

Unlike Guo Hongwei and Shi Jing, Tang Yi does not choose to obscure her subject matter or reject color in her baffling paintings. Channel-hopping from curious image to another in her visual conundrums, she evokes the non-sequential sequence of images that Xu contends parallels the ceaseless flow of images in the cyber world. In contrast self-taught photographer Zhang Jungang focuses his camera on the world around him but finds a tender poetry in the relationships of young urban Chinese to whom the freedom bestowed by the internet comes as second nature.

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