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Chineseness

Chineseness

Four-part Documentary Series by Discovery Channel

July 13 & 20, 2014

The rise of Chinese in the 21st century can be witnessed in every aspect of the international society. Whether it is economics, culture or politics, China has become a power to be reckoned with. Along with the rise, contemporary Chinese artists have also begun setting trends and become a new force. Hosted by archeologist, art historian Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang, Chineseness is a four-part documentary series dedicated to Chinese artists including Xu Bing and Zhang Huan from Mainland China, and Yang Chihung and Li Chen from Taiwan. The documentary takes viewers into the minds and lives of these artists to uncover their unique styles and sources of inspiration, translating their philosophy of life through art, and how their heritage and Chinese background have influenced their work. Viewers will be given an inside look at how the artists transpire their independent ideologies through their works by observing their progression through life and how they have claimed their place on the international stage.
Looking at the rich and diverse creativity of these four artists and their life stories, we can see how Chinese philosophy and spirit have begun to seep through Western culture. By dissecting their works and their journeys, Chinesness observes the development of the Chinese society and culture in a microcosm, giving us a new perspective on the recent rise of contemporary Chinese art and the people behind. These special screenings are Hong Kong premieres co-presented with Discovery Channel.
 


Xu Bing

(2014 / Singapore / Dir. Eunice Lau / 45 minutes/ English and Mandarin with Chinese and English subtitles)

July 13, 2014
Registration at 2:15 pm
Screening at 2:30 pm
Close at 3:30 pm

The rise of China as an economic superpower has blazed the country through tremendous transformation within a few decades. The sprouting of gleaming skyscrapers among symbols of ancient China mirrors the facelifts its ancient culture is undergoing since Mao Zedong’s revolution. Born during the era of China’s early socialist reforms, Chinese artist Xu Bing embodies several of Mao’s ideologies in his body of works. He strives to make art accessible to the people by playfully and artfully upturning the Chinese script and aesthetics. The show explores the evolution of China’s culture through this modern zeitgeist who has deconstructed Chinese culture without losing the essence of its ancient wisdom.

 


Zhang Huan

(2014 / Singapore / Dir. Charlene Shih / 45 minutes/ English and Mandarin with Chinese and English subtitles)

July 13, 2014
Registration at 3:45 pm
Screening at 4:00 pm
Close at 5:00 pm


In the past decade, the world has witnessed China’s spectacular economic growth. But subtle changes beneath the surface are also taking place. Contemporary artist Zhang Huan represents the undercurrent. We explore how he uses art as a medium to convey the country’s journey towards modernization and as a tool to liberate the human soul. From his world famous performance art to astonishing incense ash paintings and sculptures, Zhang Huan’s works transcend borders and are no longer just “art”. He takes an unconventional approach to ancient Chinese traditions like Confucianism in order to reinvent the future of China.
 

 


Yang Chihung

(2014 / Singapore / Dir. Kenny Png / 45 minutes/ English and Mandarin with Chinese and English subtitles)

July 20, 2014
Registration at 2:15 pm
Screening at 2:30 pm
Close at 3:30 pm

With an early ambition to become a Western-style painter, Yang Chihung gained his footing in the competitive New York art scene in the 80s. However, a sprouted seed brought from home inspired a new style, and triggered the Chinese soul inside him. From Taiwan to New York, from Venice to Shanghai, the trajectory of abstract expressionist painter Yang Chihung resonates with that of the rising Chinese contemporary art. It is a journey to the West and back.

 

 


Li Chen

(2014 / Singapore / Dir. Kenny Png / 45 minutes/ English and Mandarin with Chinese and English subtitles)

July 20, 2014
Registration at 3:45 pm
Screening at 4:00 pm
Close at 5:00 pm

In 1992, Li Chen’s statue “Water-Moon Avalokitesvara”— a Buddha sitting on a floating moon, forever changed the course of Chinese Buddhist sculpture. Taking cues from Eastern religion and philosophy, Li Chen created a rich body of work in a uniquely Chinese vocabulary that has appealed to a wider audience. Twenty years after his groundbreaking piece, Li Chen exhibits his new works in the hotbed of Western art—Paris. Will his work transcend the cultural boundaries while staying true to his Chinese heritage?

 

 

Co-presented with