For the past two decades, China has been passing through a remarkable transformation, one whose full extent is only now becoming visible. This exhibition, which brings together 130 works by 60 younger artists from mainland China, comprises a host of highly individual responses to the successive waves of change that have swept through China’s economic, social, and cultural life.
Since the mid-1990s, photography and video have increasingly become preferred media among China’s experimental artists. These works stand out not only for their brash energy but also for their unusual scope of historical and cultural reference. The monumental scale, too, favored by many Chinese artists seems to mirror the unbridled confidence and ambition that have fueled the changes taking place throughout the nation.
By concentrating on China’s vibrant photo- and video-based art, this exhibition sets out to explore the surprising complexity of artistic reflection on the drastic metamorphosis underway in China. The works are organized within four broad thematic sections—two presented at ICP, and two at Asia Society:“History and Memory” (Asia Society); “Reimagining the Body” (Asia Society); “People and Place” (ICP); and “Performing the Self” (ICP).
Together, the works on view evoke a vivid, if inevitably partial, impression of the forces that are shaping 21st-century China. In so doing, they testify to the ways a tumultuous period has been experienced by some of China’s most inventive younger artists.
View the website for Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China.