Yishu - Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art

Yishu Journal – the November/December 2014 Issue Now Available

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Editor’s Note

Yishu 65 opens with a text that examines the relatively short history of public art in Shanghai and the challenges, on bureaucratic and financial levels, that such projects can face. Public art in Shanghai is realized through various sources—from government support for exhibitions, to shopping mall extravaganzas, and DIY collective projects that avoid the market system altogether. This text critiques some projects that are perhaps too ambitious and brings to light others that, while still having the public interest at heart, are more modest in their intentions.

This issue also offers features on artists Liu Ding, Wang Wo, and Zhang Dali, who work in very different ways, employ different media, and represent different generations. But there are threads that weave together aspects of their work. They each make reference to the idea of collectivity in mainland China, the reality of censorship, the politics of the art system, and the lack of independent thought; although none of them address any of those topics in overt or didactic ways. Instead, their work is subtle and evocative, reflective of the artist’s search for ways to plant these ideas in the mind of the viewer. Liu Ding and Zhang Dali are aware of the seduction of the art market, and are cautious about their relationship to it while, at the same time, participating in it. Both Wang Wo and Zhang Dali bring into their work allusions to how difficult it is, in a society that still seems to find comfort in collective thought, to express opinions that might not conform to what is considered the norm.

Also in this issue are texts on two other artists who embody different generations but who have pushed the idea of traditional ink and scroll painting into new realms. Huang Zhiyang, a Taiwanese artist now living in Beijing, and Fong Chung-ray, born in Henan province and now living in San Francisco, have found their own independent aesthetic voices, derived from very different sources and histories, yet are making strong contributions to a long evolving tradition.

In conclusion, we have a look at the Asia Art Archive’s ambitious project, Mapping Asia, presented in its Hong Kong research library. This is one among a series of ongoing events AAA organizes in an effort to dig deeper into the complexities that constitute Asia and to view the region from a contemporary perspective while respecting its histories. Projects such as this also expand upon the idea of what an archive is and how its vast repository of information and knowledge can be brought to life in provocative and engaging ways.

Keith Wallace

image (top): JR, The Wrinkles of the City, 2010, poster. Courtesy of Magda Danysz Gallery, Paris and Shanghai.

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