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Ongoing exhibition

The Scar
The Scar
  • Period 2020-09-25~2021-02-28
  • Work Type Internal
  • Artworks Count 39
  • Place BMA 2F
  • Contact 051-740-4245
  • Publication
  • Promotion DOWNLOAD
Content
The Scar
The Chinese Economic Reform (改革開放 gaige kaifang, or ‘reform and opening up’) that began in the 1980s has led to China’s rapid growth, but this advancement has not come without the darker side of capitalism. Public outcry demanding democratization led to demonstrations, while income bipolarization was exacerbated. While the first generation of Chinese contemporary artists manifested a critical attitude towards the system and the government, the most recent trends have involved increasingly diverse responses to the Western modernism that young artists have been exposed to since the opening. Against this backdrop, we have invited three leading Chinese artists reflecting the latest trends in contemporary Chinese art: Zhu Jinshi, a first-generation artist after the beginning of the Chinese Economic Reform; Song Dong, a leading proponent of the resistance art movement of the 1990s known as ‘Apartment Art’; and Liu Wei, who is known for remarkable inter-media approaches. In particular, we seek to not merely show a few important historical moments and their representative artistic styles, but provide a condensed overview of chronological developments starting from the 4th June incident of late 80s, which represented an indelible turning point in modern Chinese history. Since Mao Zedong (毛澤東 1893-1976) launched the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s, the socialist regime in China underwent what is called “a dark age” until the late 1970s. In an era when severe suppression and persecution were widespread, art was only supposed to be a tool for maintenance of the regime and propagation of socialism. Nevertheless, the brutal age came to an end in 1976 with the death of Mao, followed by the downfall of the Gang of Four (Jiang Qing, Wang Hongwen, Zhang Chunqiao, and Yao Wenyuan) that had dominated the era of Revolution. Afterwards, as the idea of adapting parts of the capitalist system to improve people’s livelihoods gained popularity, Deng Xiaoping rose to power. With Deng’s new policies bringing rapid modernization to China over a period of a dozen years from the early 1980s to the late 1990s, Chinese artists have been through unprecedented change with the sudden exposure to the development of art in the West over the preceding 150 years. After the end of Cultural Revolution and direct and indirect experience of the 4th June incident, Chinese modern and contemporary artists have developed what should rightly be seen as the outcomes of their own historical experiences and struggles. While having learned from Western modern art in the 1980s, Chinese artists since the 1990s began to reinterpret modern art from their own point of view. From the incident of late 70s, Chinese contemporary art could be roughly divided into three phases—post-Cultural Revolution (1979-1984), the 1985 New Wave Art Movement (1985-1989), and post-1990s. In the post-Cultural Revolution era, many artists focused on formative beauty or abstract art and “Scar Art” portraying the trauma from the Cultural Revolution, and “native art” by realist artists also led the mainstream. Meanwhile, the beginnings of the Chinese avant-garde were ignited by self-taught artists, including those in the Stars Group (Xīngxīng 星星). The 1985 Movement and typical Chinese avant-garde movements led revolutionary change in Chinese contemporary art at that time. Afterwards, in the 1990s, prominent trends in art included political pop (zhengzhi bopu) and cynical realism (wanshi xianshi zhuyi), which account for the largest proportion of Chinese contemporary art introduced onto the international art market. The ‘Apartment Art’ movement, which sought to escape governmental control and to find artistic freedom, also started during this era. As mentioned above, the three artists in this exhibition exemplify the chronological developments of the three phases of contemporary art in China. Zhu Jinshi, who joined the Stars Group that led one of the first avant-garde movements, Song Dong, a core member of the Apartment Art movement opposed to governmental control, and Liu Wei, an artist in the Post-Sense Sensibility Group, were born in 1954, 1966, and 1972, respectively. They all experienced rapid changes arising from Chinese economic reform, albeit during different stages of life. Their works are well-positioned to give viewers insight into the ways Chinese contemporary art has changed, through trends that evoke the deep-seated “scars” or “trauma” inherent in the modern history of China. This is also precisely why this exhibition is subtitled “The scar.” Zhu, fought for democratization, shows in his works the profound trauma connected with the struggle for freedom. Song, who resisted the persistent control of the government in the 1990s by sustaining his artistic activities in the personal space of the apartment, embodies dramatic encounters between personal histories and China’s modern national history. Liu, a witness to the rapid urbanization of Beijing marked by ceaseless redevelopment and demolition of old buildings, represents the latest trend in the Chinese contemporary art, initiating diverse projects focusing on the issues endemic to such activity. This exhibition also bears the title “Trilogy of Contemporary Art in China.” Since China’s opening to Western markets occurred later than that of Korea, it underwent a rapid influx of Western culture in a very concentrated period of time. From Zhu’s Stars Group to Liu’s Post-Sense Sensibility Movement, while the gap between the three participating artists’ generations covers a span of less than 20 years, their sensibilities come from very diverse contexts, reflecting the extraordinary speed of social change in China, while all of them reveal the wounds from the swift social transformation caused by struggles for democratization, the influx of Western capitalism and the resulting urbanization. In this context, Zhu’s works regularly juxtapose elements from Western art and Chinese tradition and transcend the boundaries of mainstream art, and can thus be interpreted as a resistant practice for finding artistic autonomy and demanding freedom. As China’s reform and opening corresponded to the indiscriminate embrace of the negative sides of capitalism, Song’s works reflected the ideological specter of consumerism, a direct representation of the darker sides of capitalism. Lastly, as the Chinese economy developed rapidly, the “urban experience” that embodies the most intense integration and abstraction of capitalism has shown unprecedented forms of civilization, reflected in Liu’s gloomy “Monumenta” reinterpreting the city and civilization. Subtitled “The scar,” this exhibition presents three exemplary artists who work reflects the trauma that has stemmed from the struggle for freedom, from capitalism, and from the urbanization that resulted from China’s reform and opening up—three keywords essential for understanding contemporary Chinese art.
Work Introduction

  • 팡전 프로젝트– 베이징의 1입방미터 선지관련 첨부 이미지 팡전 프로젝트– 베이징의 1입방미터 선지
    100×120cm(2)
    알루미늄 판에 사진
  • 풍경 테이블관련 첨부 이미지 풍경 테이블
    테이블 사이즈
    접이식 테이블, 솔, 밀가루, 물
  • 쇠락하던 시대의 도약관련 첨부 이미지 쇠락하던 시대의 도약
    180×160cm(5)
    페인트, 캔버스, 금속 받침대
  • 원형 테이블관련 첨부 이미지 원형 테이블
    617×170cm
    목재, 철
  • 단지 실수일 뿐 II No. 6관련 첨부 이미지 단지 실수일 뿐 II No. 6
    375×160×160cm, 375×185×145cm, 375×186×120cm, 531×1
    문과 문틀, 목재, 아크릴 판, 스테인리스 스틸, 철
  • 마이크로월드관련 첨부 이미지 마이크로월드
    400×500×800cm
    알루미늄판
  • 가난한 자의 지혜 – 비둘기와 함께 생활하기관련 첨부 이미지 가난한 자의 지혜 – 비둘기와 함께 생활하기
    435×586×250cm
    일상 물품, 수집된 오래된 문과 창문, 타일, 혼합 매체
  • 가족 사진관관련 첨부 이미지 가족 사진관
    가변크기
    비디오 퍼포먼스 설치
  • 조각난 거울관련 첨부 이미지 조각난 거울
    3분 54초
    단채널비디오, 컬러, 사운드