Perspectives 180 – Unfinished Country: New Video from China
Exhibition Dates: 2012.11.02 – 2013.02.17
Exhibition Venue: Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Curator: James Elaine
Since the introduction of market-based economic reforms in 1978, China has become the world’s fastest growing economy. Parallel to this economic growth has been the unprecedented production of art. While the majority of contemporary art practices have centered upon the traditional genres of painting and sculpture, the expansion of work in video and new media has been rapidly evolving. Perspectives 180-Unfinished Country: New Video from China presents a cross-section of work by a new generation of artists from China working in video and video installation. A separate program of cinematic work by emerging artists will also accompany the exhibition.
Not long ago works in new media were unavailable and, depending on content, even illegal in China. But now the medium is at the forefront of a new generation of young artists. Formerly a curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, Elaine moved to China to experience first-hand the country’s rapidly evolving culture and its impact upon the production of contemporary art. What he has chronicled, first in an exhibition and later in a blog for the Hammer, is work by a new generation of artists emerging from China who are increasingly inventive, thoughtful, and masterful in their use of the medium.
Unfinished Country: New Video from China is presented in two parts. On view at CAMH is work by eleven young emerging artists from China ranging from projections to sculpture and installations. Featured artists are Chen Qiulin, Chen Zhou, Hu Xiaoyuan, Huang Ran, Jin Shan, Li Ming, Li Ran, Lu Yang, Ma Qiusha, Sun Xun, and Yan Xing.
A separate but integral component of the exhibition is a selection of cinematic shorts that will screen at Asia Society Texas Center. The two-part screening features work from artists Cheng Ran, Chen Xiaoyun, Wang Qingsong, Yang Fudong, Yu Ying, Zhai Chenglei, and Zhang Ding, among others.
“The title Unfinished Country comes from a video of the same name by Yu Ying, a recent graduate of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. His video is based on an unfinished painting from the Cultural Revolution era in China. I borrowed his title intending it to portray contemporary China in a broader sense—the country is in transition in every respect. Unfinished Country provides us a small window through which to view what is going on in the minds and lives of these artists and to look at the ancient country of China as it rises to a new position in the twenty-first century,” says Elaine.