Sunday, June 03, 2007

New Directions from China, Basel

Group show with media art from China Zhang Peili, Geng Jianyi, Huang Shi, Miao Xiaochun, spylab, Wu Juehui, Jin Jiangbo, Lu Yang. Curator: Zhang Ga The Exchange between Artists from China and Switzerland was made possible by the generous support by Pro Helvetia. Curator’s statement The rapid development of media and communications technologies in China in recent years and the increasingly extensive exchange and dialogues prompted by various international new media art exhibitions and symposia in the Mainland have sparkled new inspirations in art making among Chinese artists. No longer satisfied with mere mental perception and a transfer of meaning confined within a singular and closed environment, many Chinese artists have in the past few years ventured out to experiment with a participatory art experience and to renegotiate space and time with audiences to explore an open system that expends the production of meaning, in which chance and instability, vulnerability and possibilities emerge as the contingent mirror image of the complexity of contemporary life. Employing sensing devices, network schemes, telecommunications protocols and other technologically enabled media, these artists, much like their global peers, set out to advance the legacy of social interaction advocated by the Fluxus and the Happenings, with tactile interactivity and indeterminate offspring. Though familiar to their western counterparts insofar as technologies are concerned, the new works from China inherit a particular sensibility that alludes to social critique and reflection on the very tradition to which all these artists are indebted and suggests an evolving tactile aesthetic that is deceptively alien from the Chinese cultural tradition, yet its allegorical embeddedness and nuanced emotive resonance reveal an amorphous kinship with the past and leave much to be imagined. “New Direction from China” is the first attempt to bring an exhibition of Chinese artists working exclusively in the area of new media to the European audience. The exhibition is comprised of works from both established as well as emerging artists from Mainland China. By presenting a body of exemplifying works, it is my hope to introduce to the West a glimpse of the new direction of artistic endeavor from China, though nascent, yet already manifesting great potential and refreshing vitality. The exhibition is conceived to inspire active dialogues among media art communities and to embark on a discourse of the open art work seen from culturally and historically disparate contexts and traditions. Zhang Ga


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