Yishu - Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art

Yishu Journal – the May/June 2012 Issue Now Available

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Editor’s Note:

This edition of Yishu marks both the fiftieth and the last issue that celebrates our tenth anniversary. The staff at Yishu would like to thank all our supporters including our funders, subscribers, and writers. It is you who make this journal a success.

On this occasion we present a special issue devoted to the multi-gallery exhibition Yellow Signal: New Media in China, initiated and curated by Yishu Managing Editor Zheng Shengtian and a project of Centre A: Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. The participating galleries include Centre A, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver Art Gallery, Pacific Cinémathèque, Republic Gallery, Surrey Art Gallery, and Charles H. Scott Gallery.

The notion of “yellow signal” forms the thematic of this exhibition and implies entry into an intersection at a critical moment when there is the need to make a decision either to be cautious and hold back or to take a chance and proceed forward—a situation that Zheng Shengtian suggests exists for artists in mainland China as well as in many other regions. The rapid growth of new media and its impact, especially in the virtual world, makes the idea of “yellow signal” even more compelling.

Yishu 50 includes eleven essays and interviews by nine authors covering the early development of new media in mainland China through to the present. In mainland China, the idea of new media has a different resonance than in other parts of the world, including Hong Kong and Taiwan. For decades, art training was the purview of academies that concentrated on the traditions of painting, sculpture, and printmaking, and it is only recently that photography has earned a respected place within the field of fine art. In their introductory texts, both Zheng Shengtian and MoMA/NY Video and Media Curator Barbara London offer very personal perspectives; the first follows the fifteen-year history of presenting contemporary Chinese art in Vancouver, and the second tracks London’s encounters with new media during her early travels to mainland China.

The artists included in Yellow Signal are Cao Fei, Forget Art Collective, Ge Fei, Lin Zhen, Geng Jianyi, Huang Ran, Kan Xuan, Liu Xiaodong, Lu Yang, Remon Wang, RongRong & inri, Wang Jianwei, Yang Fudong, Zhang Lehua, and Zhang Peili. This extraordinary range of artists represents some of the pioneers of new media in China as well as a younger generation whose work ranges from photography to video to virtual reality.

Keith Wallace

image (top): Yang Fudong, Fifth Night, 2010 (detail), 7-channel video installation, 10 mins., 37 secs. Courtesy of the artist, ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai, and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.

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