Yishu 72 is pleased to present essays by Dong Bingfeng and Lesley Ma, recipients of the Fifth Yishu Awards for Critical Writing on Contemporary Chinese Art. These awards are the result of recommendations made by two important figures in contemporary Chinese art—this year Julia F. Andrews and Gao Shiming. The jurors selected an emerging writer whom they believe is making meaningful contributions in the field of art. Dong Bingfeng has provided a text on artist Feng Mengbo, an early practitioner of new media in China, and Lesley Ma discusses the work Chuang Che, a pioneering Taiwanese modernist of the 1960s.
We are also featuring Yan Shanchun, an artist who over the past few decades has turned his attention to developing an innovative printmaking process. This is followed by two texts on Canadian artists, Jamelie Hassan and Andy Patton, whose work was featured in the 2014 exhibition Transformation of Canadian Landscape Art: Inside and Outside of Being at the Xi’an Art Museum. In the work of Hassan and Patton we see not how the West influenced the East, as suggested in the texts on Chuang Che and Yan Shanchun, but how the East has influenced the West. In the case of Patton this is evident in the melding of the visual and the literary inherent in calligraphy that inform his work, and Hassan brings into the present a historical relationship between Xi’an, Istanbul, and Cairo in her site-specific installation for the library of the Great Mosque of Xi’an.
Ornella De Nigris explores how the art infrastructure in mainland China has shifted during the past four decades from what was considered the binaries of official and nonofficial art to a point where such distinctions no longer usefully exist and where contemporary Chinese art has found its way into the international art scene.
The final two texts on Cai Guo-Qiang and Xu Bing, among China’s most celebrated artists, focus on their long-term projects that engage non-art communities, an aspect of contemporary art making that Yishu has explored over the years. With their projects, Peasants da Vincis and Forest Project, both artists have set out not only to challenge the role of institutions, but, perhaps more importantly, to question what constitutes art.
Image (top): Chuang Che, Where There’s True Feeling, There’s Form; Where There’s a True Brush, There’s Expression (details), 1965, oil and collage on canvas, 76.7 x 112.5 cm. Courtesy of the artist.