China’s Young Artists Shine in Beijing


Beijing’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) has opened its 2013 program with ON | OFF: China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice. Called by the center a “groundbreaking exhibition,” it occupies all UCCA exhibition spaces. According to the center’s website:

on_off_899x462_2_595[The exhibition] marks the most comprehensive survey to date of the generation of artists born after the death of Mao and the end of the Cultural Revolution, and at the dawn of the country’s era of opening and reform. Unparalleled in scope and unprecedented in concept, ON | OFF… feature[s] 50 commissioned works by 50 artists and artist groups…

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…The exhibition is rooted in a series of such tensions that intensified in 1999, just as the Internet was becoming implicated into everyday life. Since then, it is precisely this generation of artists that has surfaced and begun to attract attention, as Chinese contemporary art has moved away from the underground scene of the 1990s and a new commercial market and institutional infrastructure have come to replace it.

Writing in Inside Sotheby’s, Chiu-Ti Jansen explains:

Toggling between “ON” and “OFF,” metaphorically referring to the two mutually interdependent modes of the interface of a VPN (virtual private network), these artists have made their experience of living simultaneously between Chinese academic training and the Western art world the theoretical underpinning of their artistic creation. They are much more conscious of their multi-faceted modes of productions or artistic practices, ready to take on the fluidity of eclectically moving among multiple media and methodologies without much angst over which value system or which medium is more “quintessentially Chinese.”

See the center’s website information here.

See Jansen’s article here.

The exhibit runs through April 14.