Boundless Realities, Multiple Nows: Contemporary Art from Hubei as a Sample
Exhibition Dates: 2017.12.29 – 2018.02.18
Exhibition Venue: Wanlin Art Museum, Wuhan University
Artists: Fu Zhongwang, Gong Jian, He An, Leng Jun, Li Juchuan, Li Liao, Li Yu+Liu Bo, Liu Chuang, Ma Liuming, Shang Yang, Shi Chong, Shi Jinsong, Tang Jing, Tang Yongxiang, Wang Qingsong, Wang Sishun, Wei Guangqing, Xu Tan, Yuan Xiaofang, Zeng Fanzhi, Zhan Rui
Curator: Liu Qianxi
Artistic Director: Tang Xin
The province of Hubei, as an important site of the contemporary art of China during the ‘85 New Wave movement, has brought up many art professionals with a sense of reformation and social responsibility. Spontaneously, they carried out various practices with the spirit of emancipation, humanism, and criticism – turning Hubei into ground zero for modernist movements during that period, and also one of the essential birthplaces of contemporary art in China. In the mid-1990s, some of the artists chose to stay there to explore the expressions of locality of art, while others began to move to the North or the South. For the latter, their subjective consciousness has been gradually adjusted or transformed in conjunction with these social and environmental changes. Also, they have been trying to break through the invisible boundaries in ideas, politics, society, and the mind. In recent years, official and non-official art institutions and non-profit art spaces have been set up one after another, infusing once again a “sense of presence” into Hubei, with the city of Wuhan as its center. Meanwhile, an urban discourse of the global art ecology has been gradually constructed together with Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Hangzhou, and other cities. Artists from Hubei have formed a kind of “community,” which is neither limited by distance nor divided by regional boundaries. Their creations implicate the emergence of a situation with regional features – a body of research worth studying and carefully observing, and which formed the historical and academic basis for this exhibition.
This exhibition will present works of 21 artists/groups who were born from the 1940s to the 1980s in Hubei or have been living and working there for many years. These artists are either the active members of the ’85 New Wave movement or the witnesses and practitioners during the period of economic reform and the transition of society. They feel deeply the actual collision of various discourses of power between China and the West, feel tenderly the meticulous local experience – meanwhile, paying great attention to the reality of the contradictions and encounters between modern people and society. By presenting collectively the works of these artists from different generations, the exhibition attempts to depict and reveal a fluid social formation that all of them are facing together.
Image: Tang Yongxiang, exhibition view