The Long Museum (West Bund) will present the group exhibition, Chinese Colours: Eastward Turn to Absoluteness by Qiu Shihua, Liang Shaoji, Qin Yifeng, Liu Jianhua, and Chen Yujun, from November 28, 2020 to February 21, 2021. The exhibition is hosted by Xia Kejun, a critic and Ph. D professor at Renmin University of China, and curated by art curartor and independent art consultant Xiao Bin.
Art — has yet to be redefined. The charm of art is its possibility or impossibility of being openly defined. If there is an absolute contribution to Chinese art, it lies in a group of artists trying to provide a brand-new understanding of art with their works, which has the universality of the contemporary era.
The five artists participating in this exhibition try to understand Chinese art with different creative techniques and forms of expressions: Qiu Shihua’s white paintings, Liang Shaoji’s silk works, Liu Jianhua’s white porcelain, Qin Yifeng’s advanced gray photography, and Chen Yujun’s ink collage. They choose to treat nature as a gift, inheriting the traditional Chinese spiritual value: let nature do its work, let it be its own way, let time do its work, and give way to it. Art becomes an attitude of humility and concession, an ethic that affirms the reproducibility and absoluteness of nature.
Such Chinese art, the pigment, background colour, and the purity of the work are embodied as a kind of “Chinese white”, a kind of “imaginary white” of Chinese philosophy. The imaginary white colour is different from the conceptual monochromatic painting (Rauschenberg), abstract white painting (Ryman), and the blank space in Japanese and Korean artworks (Lee Ufan), but a kind of “imaginary white”, which is the paradox combination between nothingness-blank and existence-whole.
This exhibition is also a reactivation of Chinese materials. From porcelain, silk, lien, to rice paper, albums and silver salt films, these materials are given new meanings and artistic forms. This innovation uncovers the Chinese’s sensitivity to materials, and the secret connection between material and nature.
The creative method of Qiu Shihua, Liang Shaoji, Qin Yifeng, Liu Jianhua, and Chen Yujun are completely different from the existing patterns in the Chinese tradition, but they happen to embody the opposite logic. Returning to nature is also a reverse reconstruction. They discover the dimensions neglected by tradition, fully face the ruins of nature, the fragmentation and damage but not nothingness, stimulate a sense of poetic timelessness, and make the remnant nature an opportunity for salvation. After bringing in technology and conceptual operations, these artists reactivate the nature and rebuild the deep connection between humanity and nature.
Chinese art no longer adopts the unipolar thinking of Western modernity, but a binary transformation of existence and non-existence. It is the reorganization and adjustment of opposites between nature and technology, nature and habits, nature and concepts, reflecting the wisdom of natural renewability and Chinese art’s principle of self-generation.
Only such natural art can fully reflect the absolute contribution of Chinese art.
During the exhibition, Xia Kejun, the academic host of this exhibition, and Xiao Bin, the curator, will invite participating artists, art critics and other scholars to hold talks at the Long Museum (West Bund) to discuss the exhibition and “Chinese Colours”.