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Exploring new phenomena of art with color
From:Shanghai Daily  |  2021-02-27 04:29

A new exhibition at the Pearl Art Museum intends to add a splash of color to the lives of anyone brave enough to step inside and view.

“Manque de Recul: Interdisciplinary Trends in Art” features an eclectic mix of art, created by more than 60 artists, including papercutting artist Chen Fenwan; Chen Yingjie, an ink graffiti artist; Victoria Lu, first female art critic and curator in the Chinese contemporary art world; Kristy Cha Ray Chu, who paints her toy collection and Ye Funa, who explores the boundary between art and aesthetics through nail art.

Li Dandan, director and curator of the Pearl Art Museum, said the exhibition “tries to explore new phenomena in a light-hearted, joyful way.”

“Popular culture, ACG (anime, comic, and games) culture, world history, folk beliefs, myths and legends, tradition and innovation are inspirations for the artists,” Li said. “No longer constrained by the conventional art circle, they created new roles for themselves, collaborating with brands, commercial space, entertainment industry and the tech world.”

The highlight of the exhibition goes to Chen Fenwan’s “Infinite,” one of her most important pieces.

Chen, though in her twenties, has been recognized by critics as “a Chinese papercutting artist with immense potential,” successfully leveling-up traditional craftsmanship to a contemporary art angle.

“Infinite” features a pink paper dragon with a head but no tail, supported by a soaring steel structure.

“Today all artistic mediums encounter the same issue: How do you attract an audience at the first sight?” Chen said.

“In the eyes of many, papercutting is ancient and out of date, while multi-media is fashionable and interesting. But for me, both face similar difficulties capturing an audience.”

Chen used hollow cutting to reflect her vision of the infinite in a finite space. On closer inspection, the layers of scales on the dragon look like the shape of opening palms.

“For no reason, I like the symbol of palms. It is reminiscent of the thousand hands of Buddha, or to be exact, it reminds me of love, as we use hands to touch the people we love and care.”

Another of her installations at the exhibition, “Lucky Garden,” presents the palm print of each participant in papercut. The artist shapes these pink hued palm prints like layers of blossoming petals standing on the mirror-made ground. Their reflection on the mirror-made ceiling of the small exhibition room conjures up a surreal, fairy tale-like world.

The combination and movement of the palm prints become a twinkling, moving array, while the mirrored “garden” reconstructs a sense of ceremony in a delicate and poetic form.

“There are no formulas to art and each creation is a breakthrough,” said Chen Yingjie, who studied Chinese painting at the age of 3.

He explored the combination of classical Chinese ink painting and Western graffiti art in different ways, working to find a balance between the two conflicting cultural forms.

By casting off cultural restrictions, he established a new artistic language exclusively of his own. During the 2020 pandemic, he created “Gravity,” using an eruption of colors to express the conflict and relationship between man and nature.

His “2020 Breaking-Loong” series drew inspiration from the martial arts philosophy of Bruce Lee, attempting to build a realm in which Eastern and Western painting styles merge with no conflict.

Among all of the participating artists, Xu Zhen® is a landmark figure in Chinese contemporary art, a leader of the younger generation, an artist, curator and the founder of MadeIn Company.

His wide-ranging body of work involves installation, photography, video and performance.

The catch phrases and texts in his “Metal Language” series were drawn from cartoons in public places, removed from its original context and framed with various materials like a dialogue box. Evoking the relaxed attitude of graffiti, the work is a spiritual portrait of the 21st century, such as “I used to be cool and do cool things.”

“Nowadays, we are constantly receiving new information. One afternoon, you might receive a text that changes your values, which is usual. I think artists should not ignore this. Why not jump into this era and play with ourselves?”

The exhibition also highlights a newly coined word “urbart (urban+art)” by Victoria Lu, who made her debut as an artist this time.

“Urbart today has already transcended graffiti art or street painting. It is not just the art of an urban space, it incorporates the virtual time and space of social media, transcending the limitation of one’s geographic or physical environment,” she said.

“Urbartists are no longer technically-trained professionals, instead they could be participants, formulators and operators of the aesthetics of the present era, while at the same time they could be a huge group of consumers.”

Together with the 59 emerging artists, she created the “Viki Lulu House,” on the idea that more and more people will join, until everyone is a part of it. Their paintings, sculptures, toys, garage kits, skateboard decks and digital creations are presented around the museum.

Live streaming equipment is also available to visitors, offering a full experience of urbart’s aesthetic and interdisciplinary experience.

Dates: Through May 5 (closed on Mondays), Tuesday-Thursday, 10am-7pm;

Friday-Sunday 110am-10pm

Venue: Pearl Art Museum

Address: 8F, Aegean Place,

1588 Wuzhong Road